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Living Costs to Consider While House Hunting

Make sure you can really afford it!

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House next to a giant jar of money spilling out

 

While you're looking for housing take the time to make sure you can really afford the cost of living in that property. Once you are under contract, even if your circumstances change, you are most likely to be tied in - if it's more than you can afford you may fall into debt and rent arrears, which can affect your studies and mental health and may even have a long-term impact on your future.

Consider the total cost of rent, bills, and travel – some properties may be more expensive at first but come with bills included up to a certain amount; others might initially seem cheap but the cost of getting from there to campus could exceed your budget. It's vital to consider all these things, alongside what your income will be, before signing up to a house. 

In this article we've included some of the most important costs for you to consider when house hunting. You can also visit our Budgeting page to help you consider your potential income and expenditure and work out whether you can afford the rent. The University has also written a guide to living costs - it's aimed at international staff coming to Keele but it contains some really useful information for all students living off campus!

 

How much does it cost to rent in the Newcastle area?

There are many different types of accommodation available in the local area from a room in someone's home to a luxury self-contained apartment. In general, rental costs in Newcastle area can be around £300-£500 a month per person, depending on the type of room/property that you get - you may find cheaper rooms in shared houses, but it is unusual. 

Many student landlords and apartment style accommodation include bills in the rent, up to a certain specified amount, so in those cases rent may be higher. Bear in mind that a lot of bills-inclusive tenancies have a 'fair usage' policy that means the landlord will only pay them up to specified amount, and you will need to pay for anything over this amount. Utility costs are rising significantly at the moment, so you may well find yourself needing to contribute.

 

How much should I expect to spend on bills?

If you have to pay your own bills, it will depend how many people live in the house, the size and age of the property, but somewhere around £100-£150 a month for gas and electricity together has been the average. This would then be split between all the tenants. Larger properties may use more gas and electricity and therefore cost more. 

However, you will probably be aware that in recent months, and continuing into the future, these bills are increasing and you may need to pay much more than this estimate.

Broadband costs are around £25-£30. 

Water bills are often covered by the landlord but if not, you are looking at about £30 a month. Again, larger houses will have higher bills.

 

Should I pay for insurance?

It is highly recommended that students get contents insurance to cover their possessions in rental properties. Whilst the landlord will get insurance to cover the building and their own fixtures and fittings, you will need your own insurance in case of damage or theft. There are many different options available, but it will cost approximately £100-120 a year. 

 

How much should I expect to spend on essentials?

Food and grocery costs will very much depend on how much you eat and drink, whether you have a special diet, and if you share things like milk, bread and cleaning products with your housemates, or if everyone buys their own.  Expect to pay £25-£40 a week for a basic shop for one person. 

 

How much should I expect to spend on travel?

Some properties are within walking distance, but most require public transport so you may need to consider travel costs.  At the moment, a monthly bus ticket is £48.50.  Taxi rides can certainly add up to an expensive way to travel!