It won't come as a surprise that London is never going to make it onto a list of cheapest places to live in the UK. But if you forget about England’s capital city, you can find affordable homes in other parts of the country, whether you're in the market to buy or rent. It's not easy to get onto the property ladder in the UK, but it's definitely not impossible if you choose the right spot.
If you're looking to rent a one or two-bedroom flat, Belfast is a good place to start. The average monthly rental for a one-bedroom flat in the capital city of Northern Ireland is £375.
Another affordable option for renters is Sunderland, where you can live in a one-bedroom flat for £384. This city, which is 10 miles southeast of Newcastle upon Tyne, is also one of the cheapest cities in which to buy. The average property price is £176,002, and you can snap up a one-bed flat for £65,000.
If you want to live in the south of England – generally an expensive area to buy or rent – put Portsmouth at the top of your list. Less than 75 miles from London, it's more affordable than other southern cities. Expect to pay an average of £812 a month to rent a one-bedroom flat in Portsmouth, compared to £1,072.50 in neighbouring Southampton.
The average cost of renting a three-bedroom house in Derby will set you back £541 a month. If you share with others, living in the Midlands becomes an extremely affordable option.
Bradford is one of the cheapest places to buy in the UK. One-bed flats are available for £57,400, and you can get yourself a three-bedroom house for £95,000.
Another affordable option for buyers is Hull, where the average property price is £104,376, and first-time buyers need an average deposit of just over £15,500. Additionally, Hull is considered to have the lowest cost of living in the UK, making it possibly the cheapest place to live in England.
First-time buyers should also consider Middlesbrough, where the average property costs £107,041, and first-time buyers need a £16,056 deposit. In the TS2 postcode, the average property costs only £46,000.
The average property in Liverpool costs £122,137, and first-time buyers need a deposit of £18,320. Experts also consider Liverpool to be one of the most cost-effective cities in which to live and work in the UK.
If your search for cheap places in the UK extends to Wales, consider Cardiff, the nation's capital and the eleventh largest city in the UK. The average home in the CF1 postcode is £57,500.
The cheapest place to buy a house in Scotland is North Lanarkshire (between Glasgow and Edinburgh), where the average house costs £118,399. In the town of Shotts, you can buy a house for £91,626.
If you need help getting on the property ladder, check out government schemes like Help to Buy, Starter Homes and Shared Ownership.
Help to Buy loans are available for people with a 5 percent deposit on new-build properties up to a value of £600,000. The government lends up to 20 percent of the property value, interest-free for the first five years, which is paid back at the end of the mortgage or when you sell.
Starter Homes is available to first-time buyers under the age of 40. These buyers get a 20 percent discount on the market value of a new-build property. However, you cannot sell or let the property for the first five years.
Shared Ownership is available to non-homeowners earning £80,000 per year or less (£90,000 in London). You buy a share of a home from a housing association and pay rent on the remainder. To qualify for this scheme, you need a 10 percent deposit, funds to cover stamp duty and other fees and a mortgage offer from a lender.