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It’s no secret that the cost of living in the UK is having dramatic impact on the lives of Brits. As a result, an estimated 4.5 million people are now looking to relocate abroad in search of a better life. With wages failing to keep pace with inflation and the cost of living increasing, it is no surprise that so many are considering leaving the UK.


The cost of living crisis

Given the tough year many experienced in 2022, the idea of moving to somewhere brighter has been popping up in your head. There’s a good reason for that too – it would also be cheaper.

One UK-based property expert compiled data about the costs of necessary items, creating a home overseas, and living there for an extended period in seven of the most popular European expat destinations. Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Cyprus, and Greece are the most popular countries among people looking for a fresh start abroad.

When averaging out the cost for the whole country, the UK was still found to be the most expensive.

Even so, it’s hardly surprising to see the UK at the top of the list.

Currently, the UK is right at the start of a recession with inflation being at a 40-year high, which is primarily driven by global fuel prices.


In the supermarket

There is no comparison when it comes to supermarket staples like bread, butter and milk. With the 17 basic items we analysed, you can expect to spend around £48.82 per week.

The UK is almost 40% more expensive than the rest of the world when it comes to groceries. It’s the most expensive on the list when it comes to supermarket shopping. The UK may have cheaper fruit and vegetable prices, but are the necessarily fresh? Many fruit and veggies sold in supermarkets are imported from overseas. So why not pay less and have fresher produce from the original source?

Even in France, fish costs less than in the UK, with Brits paying more than 300% the prices than our European counterparts.


Getting out and about

Fuel costs in the United Kingdom have seen an increase, and it has been reflected across Europe, except Greece which has the most expensive fuel prices at the moment. When it comes to the price of fuel, in the UK, you’ll pay about £81 for 50 litres. Compared to about €78, €82, and €86 for 50 litres in other European countries.

Furthermore, considering hiring a car and the round-trip train ticket; the UK was found to be the most expensive, closely followed by Germany.


Hobbies and leisure

You must always factor in the cost of socialising and having fun when you move abroad for work or retirement.

As a result of the analysis, lovers of beer or finer wines might want to visit the Mediterranean, where half a litre costs around £1.70 compared to £3 in the UK. Coffee lovers can also expect to pay around £1 for a medium cappuccino in local independent coffee shops in Italy and Portugal. You’ll pay 220% more for the same coffee in the UK.

It’s surprising that eating out costs the most in Greece. A mid-range restaurant serves three courses for about £37. Spain has the cheapest dining out, where you can get the equivalent for about £13.

You will probably be better off building your home library in Cyprus, where books cost around £6.90 instead of Germany, where paperbacks average around £10.


The property market

Housing in the UK costs about €5,000 (roughly £4,200) per square meter, about double the going rate in Italy.

Eurostat figures show that one in eight of Britain’s citizens spend more than 40% of their disposable income on housing. This figure is higher than the EU average (11.3%). Despite it’s low rate, the UK comes in above both Italy and France, while being lower than some other EU member states, such as Germany and the Netherlands.

It is not just the UK’s poor building record that separates it from the rest of the EU, but also it’s low affordability. According to the latest Deloitte property index, it takes an average of only 3.2 years to save all of a person’s salary to buy a new house in Germany, followed by it’s neighbours Belgium and the Netherlands. Among the countries Deloitte analysed, Spain and Portugal also have relatively affordable housing. The UK has the least affordable housing. For a new apartment, Britons have to save their whole salary for almost 11 years.


UK wages compared

“Low pay” is defined as “workers who earn less than two-thirds of median earnings.” The UK tops the list with 20.3% of workers falling into this category.

The analysis, using OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) data, found that the UK over a nineteen-year period had a higher percentage of low paid workers. This compared to all twelve neighbouring European countries, including Belgium (5.8%), France (6.9%), Iceland (7.4%), Denmark (7.7%), Finland (7.7%), Netherlands (8.0%), Switzerland (10.9%), Luxembourg (12.5%), Austria (15.7%), Ireland (16.8%), and Germany (18.0%).

The UK consistently underperformed in wealth per head, inequality, pension poverty, and recovery compared. This was compared to its north west European neighbours in the 21st century.


Want to know more about moving abroad

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