Mercer's 2023 Cost of Living Survey ranked Birmingham as the world's 118th most expensive city out of the 227 cities surveyed. This puts Birmingham's cost of living well below that of London, ranked 17th. These two are the only cities in England that make an appearance on the list, so while Birmingham has a far better position than London, it is still one of the country's priciest cities. In a global context, the cost of living in Birmingham is similar to cities such as Lisbon, Vancouver and Auckland.

Cost of accommodation in Birmingham

Rental prices in Birmingham are high and continually on the rise due to high demand. Utilities and council tax are usually charged in addition to rent and this should be kept in mind when budgeting. New arrivals looking to minimise their accommodation expenses should concentrate their house hunt on Birmingham's outlying suburbs, which are usually cheaper than inner-city areas.

Cost of groceries in Birmingham

The cost of groceries in Birmingham varies considerably depending on the outlet. Mid-range supermarkets such as Tesco, Sainsbury's and Morrisons are generally affordable, but good savings can be found at discount retailers Aldi and Lidl. Meanwhile, high-end supermarkets such as Marks & Spencer and Waitrose sell plenty of imported products but are expensive.

Apart from making a savvy choice of where to shop, other ways to save include buying in-store brands rather than name brands and opting for local produce over imports.

Cost of transport in Birmingham

With a good selection of bus, tram and train routes, most Birmingham residents find the local transport network meets their needs, saving them the cost of purchasing, maintaining, insuring and fuelling a car. The city also has some good cycling infrastructure, making getting around on two wheels a breeze.

Cost of education in Birmingham

Birmingham is home to a number of excellent schools. Most of the city's best schools are funded by the state and are therefore free to attend. There are also a number of good private schools, but fees can be high and they are often outperformed by local state schools.

Cost of living in Birmingham chart

These are average costs for Birmingham in July 2022. Prices may vary depending on product and service provider.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

GBP 2,000

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

GBP 1,200

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

GBP 790

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

GBP 650


Milk (1 litre)

GBP 0.95

Dozen eggs

GBP 1.85

Loaf of white bread 

GBP 0.95

Rice (1kg)

GBP 1.30

Packet of cigarettes (Marlboro)

GBP 12.25


City-centre bus/train fare

 GBP 2.40

Taxi rate per km

 GBP 1.12

Petrol/gasoline per litre

 GBP 1.56

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

 GBP 6

Coca-Cola (330ml)   

 GBP 1.45


 GBP 2.80

Local beer (500ml)

GBP 3.85

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

GBP 50


Internet (uncapped ADSL per month)

GBP 26

Mobile call rate (mobile-to-mobile per minute)

GBP 0.15

Utilities (average per month for standard household)

GBP 185

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