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Looking for an alternative to London?

26 September 2017

With job opportunities and lower living costs, Belfast could be the alternative

Multinationals based there – taking advantage of low operating costs – include US insurer Allstate, law giant Baker McKenzie and professional services companies PwC and Deloitte.

Cost of living

Isis Dela Pena Palamine, who moved to Belfast from near Malmo in Sweden in 2014, works as a chef in the south of the city and said the cost of living compares favourably. “It’s very cheap to live here when it comes to food and to accommodation,” she said. “We live in a two-bedroom house which costs £425 a month; if that was in Sweden we would have paid £600 just for a flat.”

The latest data from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency shows the average house price in Belfast stands at £128,650. That compares to £489,000 in London, according to the UK’s Office for National Statistics.

Average wages – although climbing at the second fastest rate of all UK regions – stand at £26,000 a year, lower than the UK average of £28,000 and the London average of £35,000, according to the ONS.

Living costs are relatively low, although utility bills can be pricey given Northern Ireland’s need to import much of its energy needs. And some expats, particularly from London and New York, have suggested that eating out costs more, although a growing number of restaurants – everything from the Michelin-starred Ox and Deanes Eipic to the increasing number of street food vendors – are helping to boost supply.

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