Graduate Hot Spots 2017


One year on from our Graduate Hot Spots 2016, have investigated which areas are the best places for graduates to live across the UK and compiled the results in the Graduate Hotspots 2017 report. 

The top five Graduate Hot Spots 2017 are:






The two worst areas for graduates to live are:



To view our handy infographic showcasing the top five Gradaute Hot Spots 2017 click here

The ranking factors have differed a bit from last year’s report which mostly focused on housing. This year’s report, includes more ranking factors giving a greater influence to career prospects and lifestyle factors, in order to provide a bigger picture of the standard of living offered by each area.

That’s why have made it that much easier for soon-to-be graduates to take their next steps in life, by tracking down the best Graduate Hot-Spots across the UK

Ranking factors for TheHouseShop’s Graduate Hot-Spots 2017 report include: average graduate salary, average rental prices, house price affordability, cost of living, job availability and the all-important price of a pint, among others.

Nick Marr, Co-Founder

“Deciding where to live after graduation is a very important step in a young person’s life, and choosing where to set down roots after university can be a daunting prospect.” 

“For the second year in a row, our Graduate Hot-Spots report has shown that students shouldn’t be blinded by the bright lights of London and should look further afield for the best quality of life. With its affordability, high average graduate salary, vibrant culture and active nightlife to enjoy on the weekends, Leeds is a fantastic place to live and work for soon-to-be graduates and is a deserving winner as this year’s top spot.”

“We can’t discuss the best without mentioning the worst performing areas in the UK for graduates to live. Bath and Canterbury both had a low average graduate salary compared to other areas and when combined with high housing prices, these areas won’t offer graduates the best start in life.

1. Leeds


Key Stats:

·         3rd place for average 4 bed rental price at £1,135 pcm (£283.75 per tenant)

·         4th place for average sale price of a 2 bed home at £140,725

·         6th overall for average two bed rental price £715 pcm (357.50 per tenant)

·         7th place average graduate salary £25,000

·         Monthly income after tax – £1,632.89

Leeds beat out the competition to win the coveted number 1 Graduate Hot Spot position, with the perfect mix of affordable housing, good job prospects and excellent quality of life for fledgling graduates.

Leeds dominated across all the housing ranking factors, scoring highly for cheapest rents and house prices. So for those graduates looking to get on the property ladder as fast as possible, Leeds is one of the most affordable places to make the jump from renting to buying. 

With a relatively high average graduate salary, graduates in Leeds could expect to take home £1,632.89 per month. Taking away share of rent for a 4 bed home, basic utilities, wifi and student loan repayments, grads would still be left with a sizable £1,160 disposable income in their pockets – leaving real savings potential for aspiring homeowners. 

We all know that internet access is of huge importance for young millennials, and while Leeds came 11th overall for cost of WiFi at £20.84 per month, it performed poorly in WiFi speed coming in 18th place with 24.72mb per second. So streaming your favourite Netflix series may take a little while…

Comparison to 2016 Graduate Hotspot: Sheffield

Leeds has scored highly in terms of affordable property and high earning potential, which are the two most important ranking factors that graduates will look for when choosing a new home.

Sheffield has maintained its affordable housing credentials since our 2016 report, however, its average graduate salary has since slipped slightly, allowing Leeds to overtake it as the new northern powerhouse. 

2. Liverpool


Key Stats:

·         2nd for average two bed rental price at just £589 per month

·         3rd place for number of gradaute jobs available at 1,097

·         4th overall for cheapest pint costing only £2.75

·         5th place for WiFi speed at 34.68 Mb ber second

·         7th for average cost of WiFi at £18,98 per month

·         6th place for cost of living

Liverpool snagged the number 2 spot in our 2017 Graduate Hot Spots report, due largely to its abundance of extremely affordable housing options. With the average rent for a 2 bed home at just £589 per month, graduates would be paying less than £300 a month each and will only have to fight one other flatmate for the shower in the morning!

Liverpool also performed well in the house price category, coming 3rd overall with a 2 bed home costing on average just £123,597 – even more affordable than our ultimate winner, Leeds!”

Even though Liverpool has a slightly lower average graduate salary compared to our overall winner Leeds (£23k vs £25k), affordable rents and lower student loan repayments mean that even taking into account basic utilities and wifi, grads still have £1060 disposable income at the end of each month.

And perhaps more importantly, Liverpool had the cheapest pint out of all our top 5 hot-spots, at just £2.75, and some of the fastest and most affordable WiFi!

3. Exeter


Key Stats:

·         1st place for weekly travel pass costing just £7.00

·         6th cheapest for basic monthly utilities £97.32

·         7th place for average gradaute salary £25,000

·         14th place for cost of living

·         19.7% 16-24 year olds in the area

Earning a respectable third place overall, Exeter earned mid-range rankings for many of our categories, but outperformed the rest for cheapest travel with a weekly travel card costing just £7.00!

Exeter came in joint seventh place for average graduate salary, alongside our winner Leeds, giving grads a solid monthly take-home pay of £1,632.89 per month. However, you won’t be taking home anything come pay-day if you can’t find a job! As Exeter fell down in the number of graduate jobs available with just a measly 193 within a ten mile radius of the city.

Exeter came middle of the road for property prices, with the average rent of a two bed home costing £822 pcm, and the average rent of a four bed home costing £1,414 pcm. On top of monthly rent, graduates thinking of living in Exeter will have to be prepared for a higher than average cost of living in general, but this can be offset slightly by cheaper basic utilities, costing just £97.32 per month.

4. Durham


Key Stats:

·         3rd place for average four bed rental price £1,122 pcm (£280.50 per tenant)

·         4th place for average two bed rental price £670 pcm (£355 per tenant)

·         5th place cost of weekly travel card £13.00

·         6th overall for average two bed sale price £153,091

In the worst five areas for average WiFi cost at £23.97 per month

Durham performed well across the affordable housing ranking factors, coming a respectable 3rd and 4th place in the rental price categories. This is good news for graduates who are rarely prepared to take their first steps onto the property ladder straight after university and will likely be forced into renting for the first few years post-uni. 

But when they are ready to set down roots, they could snap up a 2 bed home for just £153,091 – making Durham the 6th cheapest place to buy from our hot-spots shortlist.

Durham didn’t perform too well in average monthly utilities costs, scoring 17th place overall at £147.98. Graduates thinking of moving to Durham will also have to contend with pricey WiFi costs, so they will be paying a premium for the privilege of checking their Instagram accounts.

However, Durham makes up for it with cheap weekly travel costs of £13.00 and coupled with an affordable pint price of just £2.10, graduates will be able to take advantage of all the pubs and bars that the city has to offer.

5. London


Key Stats:

·         1st place for number of graduate jobs available at 9,914

·         1st place for average graduate salary at £29,000

·         Last place for average two bed rental price £2,585 pcm (£1,292.50 per tenant)

·         Last for average four bed rental price £4,953 pcm (1,238.25 per tenant)

London has moved up in the rankings since last year’s Graduate Hot Spots Report and has scraped into this year’s top 5 thanks largely to its excellent career prospects.

London beat the competition for graduate job opportunities, with an impressive 9,914 graduate roles available and an average graduate salary of £29,000. Driven graduates will be pleased to know that the capital city ranks as the best place in the UK to launch a career. 

But bear in mind, a higher salary means higher student loan repayments, as London grads will be paying twice as much as their friends in Leeds or Durham.

Unsurprisingly though, London fell down in the affordable housing stakes, scoring the lowest across all of our property ranking factors.  To put this it into perspective, the average price of a two bedroom house comes to an eye watering £802,533, compared to just £140,725 in our number 1 hot-spot Leeds.

London also performed poorly in the cost of living index with a high score of 83.75, coming second only to this year’s worst place for graduates to live, Bath. The average monthly utilities spend comes to £147.75, a weekly travel card costing £17.00 and a pint coming in at a whopping £3.47.

Although London is not very affordable, it does offer the best career prospects for fledgling graduates who will struggle to find such a variety and abundance of job opportunities elsewhere in the UK. London is also a fantastic place to be a graduate with vast numbers of bars, nightclubs and events venues for them to enjoy on their time off.

And the worst cities in the UK for graduates to live are….



Bath came in last place for having the highest cost of living at 86.74 out of all twenty five cities, leaving graduates with a less disposable income and savings potential. Bath continued to prove an expensive city for graduates to live in, with steep property prices in both the rental and sales areas of the property market. The average rent for a 2 bed property is £1,192 pcm, whereas the average price of a two bed home is £420,038 which both came in the bottom worst five.



The famous cathedral town in Kent also performed badly with the lowest earning potential for graduates of just £11,400 coming in last place. Canterbury also has high housing prices, with the average rental price of a two bed home costing £1,073 pcm, in 18th place overall and the four bed homes not doing much better, at £1,423 pcm, 10th. When the low graduate earning potential is taken into account with the higher than average housing prices, Canterbury is a very expensive area for graduates to live in.

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