Moving to Manchester: A Stashbee Moving Guide 2024

Thinking of moving to Manchester? You’ll find everything you need to know about moving to and living in Manchester

Is Manchester a good place to move to? 

There’s no doubt that Manchester is a fantastic place to live. When you look at everything Manchester has to offer it’s easy to understand why more and more people are moving there.

This is a city famous for its friendly locals, rainy climate and world-class footballers. It’s the breeding ground that brought the UK national treasures ranging from Emmeline Pankhurst to Liam Gallagher and Marcus Rashford. 

Before you make any big decisions make sure to read this guide. You’ll find everything you need to know about moving to and living in Manchester and might just figure out whether it's the city for you.

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Situated in North West England, Manchester is the second largest city in the UK after London, with a population of approximately 552,858. Greater Manchester, the county’s wider metropolitan area, bumps that figure up to a whopping 2.86 million. 

If you’re flirting with the idea of becoming a Manchester local you’ll be happy to hear it was voted The Economist’s ‘most liveable city’ in the UK in 2018. This index accounted for healthcare access, education, social stability and local crime. Homedit’s 2021 survey also ranked Manchester as the safest location to buy a house in the UK. 

Key Facts

  • Population: 2,811,756
  • Average salary: £37,499
  • Average house price: £261,009
  • Average monthly rent: £800 for a one-bedroom flat
  • Main train station(s): Manchester Victoria, Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Oxford Road and Deansgate
  • Closest Airport: Manchester airport
  • Air pollution levels: Moderate
  • Average price for a pint of milk: £0.70-£1.80
  • Average price of a pint of beer: £3.50-£4.97


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Manchester has great connections to the rest of the country. It’s a short drive away from Liverpool and Bolton and fast trains leave for London every 20 minutes. The city’s main stations, Manchester Victoria, Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Oxford Road are spread out around the city centre. 

Manchester airport is just 9 miles from the city centre while Liverpool John Lennon airport and Leeds Bradford airport are only a stone's throw away.

Manchester also has a tram network - the Metrolink which helps locals travel as far east as Bury and west to Manchester Airport.

Manchester’s air quality has suffered from its industrial history and great infrastructure. Manchester city council reports particularly high levels of Nitrogen Oxide. 

Cost of Living

If you’re moving from London to Manchester the lower cost of living is a big selling point. On average, rent in Greater Manchester is 20% cheaper than rent in the capital. Cost of living comparisons on estimates that the average cost of living is 32% cheaper than in London. 

A monthly transport ticket is £54, a pint of semi-skimmed milk goes for 40p and the average Manchester pint will set you back between £3 and £4.50. 



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Average house prices in Manchester

The average house price in Greater Manchester is £261,009. Detached homes are the most expensive on the housing market averaging at 420,089. Blocks of flats are more concentrated in the Manchester city centre and you’ll pay a premium for it. 

The average price of a flat is £214,467. You can expect to drop roughly £800 pcm for a one-bedroom rental property. The average rent of a four-bedroom house is £1,385pcm.

Council Tax

Every property in Manchester is divided into one of eight council tax brackets (A-H). As of 2022/3 the lowest bracket pays an annual average of £1,248.39 council tax. At the other end of the scale, some property owners pay as much as £3,745.17.

Finding Temporary Housing in Manchester

If you need a short-term living situation while getting settled, Manchester has plenty of flexibility for temporary housing. Popular options include:

  • Airbnb – search by neighbourhood to find apartments, flats and homes for rent. Prices range from £40/night for a basic room to £100+/night for an entire place.
  • - For extended stay hotels and serviced apartments. Well-rated chains like Staybridge Suites, Roomzzz, and Aparthotels Adagio offer weekly/monthly discount rates.
  • SpareRoom/RoomBuddies - These roommate finder sites let you search for rooms to rent by the week or month in shared houses/flats. Often £300-600/month all bills included.
  • University Rooms - During summer, many universities rent out their dormitories as short-term student housing for £40/night.

For neighbourhood recommendations, Didsbury, Chorlton, and Castlefield have family-friendly short lets. The Northern Quarter and City Centre work well for singletons/young professionals.

What is the nicest area to live in Manchester?

As with any big city, different areas have different atmospheres and property prices. Each neighbourhood has a unique feel and wherever you settle you can nip between them on Manchester’s excellent public transport system. 

The Northern Quarter is a popular area with young renters. Packed full of bustling coffee shops and independent restaurants this is an artsy area known for its graffitied red brick buildings. Many of the housing options here are in state-of-the-art, new-build apartment blocks. 

Ancoats is another happening area for the younger market. Housing is split between new buildings and flats in converted mill buildings. Ancoats is just a short walk from Manchester Piccadilly, the city’s biggest railway station.

Altrincham is an affluent market town in Greater Manchester, 8 miles Southwest of the city centre. It’s a great place to raise a family, boasting excellent local schools, a beloved food market and lots of greenery. The Metro tram can whisk you from this peaceful suburb to the city centre in under half an hour.

For many, the leafy suburb of Didsbury would be the top pick of Manchester’s many neighbourhoods. This suburb is a wonderful place to build a family, complete with top schools and Victorian homes. That being said, a higher cost of living is part and parcel of this affluent neighbourhood. 

The Trafford Centre and Salford Quays are hubs for all the shops you can imagine!

Job Market

Previously Manchester was the industrial capital for cotton. The old brick mill buildings are a common sight across the city’s architecture, standing side by side with skyscrapers. The business sector is clearly still booming.

Many big-name British brands like Kelloggs, Adidas and Missguided are all based here. A decade ago the BBC relocated to Salford, a 30-minute drive from the city centre and many creative types moved Northwards to follow the jobs. 

There are many job opportunities in Greater Manchester. The biggest sectors are media and TV, finance, healthcare and advanced manufacturing. The job market is a little less competitive than in London so some young professionals choose to get their careers established in Manchester. 

Sadly, with all these positives there’s one big con: lower salaries. At approximately £40,000  (but decreasing with distance from the city centre) the average Manchester salary is bang in line with the national average. That’s considerably lower than what the same role might pay in London. That being said, the lower house prices and cost of living might still justify your career move!

However, you like to spend your time there’s something for everyone in Manchester.



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Educational Options 

For families relocating with children, Manchester boasts an excellent selection of schools from nursery through higher education. Some of the most highly-rated state primaries include St John's C of E, Ladybarn Primary, and Crab Lane Primary. Top secondaries to consider are Wihitworth Community High, Stretford High, and Altrincham Grammar Schools for Boys/Girls.

The city is also home to several prestigious universities like the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, and the University of Salford among others.

Arts and Culture

Whatever you enjoy, Manchester’s entertainment scene will deliver. If you’re a culture fiend head to Manchester Art Gallery on Mosley street or soak in the mediaeval architecture of the John Rylands Library and Manchester cathedral. The Manchester International Festival is a calendar highlight. Every summer artists from different nations perform across the Greater Manchester area. 

One of Manchester's great strengths is its rich cultural diversity. The city has long been a welcoming home to families from Pakistan, India, Ireland, Africa, the Caribbean and beyond. This melting pot is reflected in the neighborhoods like Rusholme's iconic "Curry Mile" lined with South Asian restaurants.

The year-round calendar is packed with multicultural events like the Chinese New Year parade and festive Diwali celebrations. In summer, check out the massive Caribbean carnival and the Russian festival Ozorafest. Manchester Pride is one of the UK's largest LGBTQ+ pride events.


Manchester is one of the great footballing European cities - it really wouldn’t be the same without football. So if you can, head to Old Trafford to see Manchester United in action or The Etihad stadium to catch a Manchester City game.

Grabbing a Bite

This is a culturally diverse city and the food and drink scene reflects this. The famous ‘Curry Mile’ is a stretch of hundreds of Pakistani and Indian restaurants on Wilmslow road. Manchester has five universities so heading to student areas like Fallowfield and Rusholme is a good way to ensure a cheap night of good food and drink. 

The Nightlife Scene

When you're ready to experience Manchester's legendary nightlife, there's plenty to keep you entertained. Of course, you can't miss catching football matches at Old Trafford or the Etihad to soak up the sporting atmosphere.

But Manchester has so much more than just sports bars. Areas like the Northern Quarter, Oxford Road, and Deansgate are brimming with stylish cocktail lounges, comedy clubs, live music joints, LGBTQ+ hangouts and nightclubs that keep things going until the wee hours. Breweries and distilleries line the roads of Manchester too.

Making the move to the North West

If you decide to take the leap and become a Manchester local then make sure you’re all prepped for the big move. Research the different neighbourhoods you might like and the council tax for each of them. To make moving as smooth as possible hire a removals company and make sure your utilities are paid in advance ready for your arrival. 

Moving costs will depend on where you’re currently based and how much you’re bringing with you. The cost of relocating a three-bedroom house from London to Manchester is approximately £1,341.

If you have made the move to Manchester and find you have some excess space, why not list on Stashbee and earn some extra cash and provide some space to your new northern neighbours! 

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is the nicest area to live in Manchester?

Didsbury is consistently ranked as one of the nicest areas to live in Manchester. It has a village-like feel with tree-lined streets, plenty of green spaces, great schools, and an array of independent shops and eateries. Other desirable neighbourhoods include Chorlton, Castlefield, and parts of the city center like Spinningfields.

What is the safest part of Manchester to live? 

According to crime statistics, some of the safest areas to live in Manchester include Didsbury, Chorlton, Worsley, Bramhall, and Hale. These affluent suburbs on the outskirts of the city tend to have lower crime rates.

Is Manchester the friendliest city in England?

Manchester does have a well-earned reputation for its friendly locals and community spirit. It frequently ranks highly in polls about the friendliest cities in the UK. The people of Manchester are known for their warmth, humour, and unpretentious attitudes.

How affordable is it to live in Manchester?

Overall, the cost of living in Manchester is quite affordable, especially compared to London. Housing costs are significantly lower, with the average home price around £261,000. Rental prices are reasonable too, with a one-bedroom flat averaging £800 per month. Day-to-day expenses like groceries, transportation, and entertainment are also very budget-friendly.

What salary do you need to live in Manchester UK?

The average full-time salary in Manchester is around £30,000 per year. However, to live comfortably, budgeting experts recommend an annual income of £40,000-£50,000 for families or £25,000-£35,000 for single persons once rent/mortgage costs are accounted for. This allows for a decent quality of life without being extravagant.  

Is Manchester or London better to live in?

This is a common debate without a simple answer as it depends on one's priorities and lifestyle. Manchester is more affordable for housing and living costs. London offers more job opportunities and higher salaries but also significantly higher expenses. Manchester has a more community-oriented feel while London is a global megalopolis. Both have fantastic cultural amenities.

Is Manchester a booming city?  

Yes, Manchester is widely considered one of the most economically and culturally booming cities in the UK. Corporate relocations, huge redevelopment projects, a thriving startup scene, and major events like the BBC move have catalysed fast growth. The city's reputation, population, and investment continue rapidly expanding.


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Updated 30th Apr 2024

Written 21st Dec 2022