It’s Not All Roses in the United Kingdom
As many British consider moving out of the United Kingdom, several hundred thousand more people consider moving in. With the United Kingdom part of the European Union, it’s relatively easy for Europeans to move there as well as citizens of the UK’s ex-colonies. As a British citizen, I’m one of the first to say the United Kingdom has a lot of positive things to offer. But, there are things every potential emigrant should consider before moving to the UK.
We spoke to an expert mortgage broker from getmemymortgage.co.uk’s network of advisors who told us ‘if you are looking to move to the uk and buy a property as soon as you arrive it is a good idea to start planning this well in advance of arriving in the UK to ensure you meet the UK requirements if you are looking to get a mortgage to purchase a property.
The Cost of Living
The cost of living in the United Kingdom is high. One of the highest cost of livings in Europe, many every day things are just about double the cost of similar items in the United States, yet salaries aren’t any higher. Clothing in particular is expensive, as well as many household items, gas (petrol), food and eating out. When you’re used to spending $15 to buy a t shirt in the US, then are suddenly faced with paying £15 (almost double the cost with the foreign currency exchange), moving to the UK can be a bit of a shock.
The Cost of Renting Accommodation
Accommodation in many European countries is high compared to the US, Asia and many other regions of the world. In Thailand, where I live, an average one bedroom apartment is around $250 a month; in the US around $750. Average rental price in the UK for a one-bedroom apartment in May, 2010, £709. With today’s currency exchange rate, that’s $1,052 – more than $300 a month more than in the US and $800 a month more than Thailand.
Median Income in the UK
Considering the price of so many things in the UK is high, you’d think the salaries would be the same. Surprising to some, particularly compared to the US, salaries are lower. The median income in the United States in 2007 (the latest statistics), according to the US Census Bureau, was $45,113 for a man who worked full-time, all year round. In the United Kingdom in 2009, according to the Office for National Statistics, men working full time made £531 per week or the equivalent of £27,612 or $40,870.
Now, considering many items in the UK (in particular, accommodation) is much more expensive than in the US, not only is the average man in the UK making around $4,500 a year less than in the US, he’s also paying more for almost everything he buys.
One thing many people don’t consider when thinking about moving to the UK is the weather. As a former British resident I can tell you, it is miserable. With temperatures often in the 40-60 degree farenheit range, even in the summer, anyone who’s spent any time in the US, Asia, South America, Africa, Australia and many other regions will find living in the UK incredibly cold. Add onto that the constant rain or drizzle (the last time I was in the UK, it rained every day for the two weeks I was there, and this was in June), and the weather gets old fast. Also, consider this. When many British who have moved out of the United Kingdom are asked for their reasons why, a high percentage say the terrible British weather was one of the reasons they left.
Buying Property in the United Kingdom
The cost of buying houses or apartments in the UK in the last 20 years has gone through the roof. The average price of property in the UK last year was £156,442 ($231,573). In the United States, the average price of property was $182,000. So, think again before moving to the UK and buying a house.. The average American man is making more money than the average Brit, yet buying property (on average) $50,000 less.
If after reading this article about things to consider before moving to the UK has made you depressed, don’t let it. The United Kingdom is a wonderful country. People are friendly, the culture is interesting, the history and architecture spectacular and opportunities, like anywhere, there if you look for them. Just make sure, before you move to the United Kingdom, you seriously consider these important factors. As it’s better to get there fully prepared than clueless and shocked.