If you are an expat who plans on moving to Belfast, you probably have a lot of questions regarding the quality of life and whether or not it is a good place to live and work. This article will help you understand everything that the town has to offer. I realise that moving to the United Kingdom can be difficult as I have moved a lot.
Is Belfast a good place to live? The answer would depend on what you have in mind when moving to this city. It is the capital of Northern Ireland. The modern city is rapidly growing. It offers plenty of opportunities to work and start businesses and there are plenty of schools, amenities, and things to do. The cost of mortgage is low so it is easy to buy a home without being on credit for long.
Whether you are moving to the United Kingdom for work, school, or to start a business, you will never run out of options. The housing prices are lower than most parts of the United Kingdom and the cost of living is generally fair. The article will explain the best and worst neighbourhoods in Belfast, whether it is a good city for retirement and if it is appropriate for raising a family.
Is Belfast a Good Place to Live?
Belfast is a lovely place to live in. It has a wide variety of grocers, restaurants, and shopping centres. You can never run out of opportunities to shop for food in the fast-growing cosmopolitan community. There are plenty of markets where you can buy fresh local produce. Since it is an Irish community, there are plenty of pubs and bars. You can buy beer and wine cheaply from local restaurants and supermarkets.
The city has a reliable bus service operated by Metro. The train service links the city with other major towns.
Another reason to love living in Belfast is the cheap cost of internet, leisure activities, gas/electricity and buying a car.
There are plenty of good neighbourhoods in Belfast. The small city has something for everyone. One of the most popular neighbourhoods in the South District. It is about 10 minutes away from the central area so you will have easy access to the city’s best amenities.
Stranmillis is a great neighbourhood for young people especially university students. There are plenty of accommodation options including dorm-style apartments. The cost of rent is cheap and there are plenty of amenities including a gym, supermarkets, and restaurants. The main street gives you everything you need and the streets are beautiful.
Lower Malone Road is one of the most pleasant neighbourhoods in Belfast. It is a great neighbourhood for both young professionals and older adults. The lower side is a great option if you are trying to buy or rent a home on a budget. It is also closer to the city centre. The upper side is more quiet and affluent. The main street has plenty of restaurants, health centres, and fitness centres.
There aren’t many unpleasant areas in Belfast. Even the bad ones have a positive side. In Lisburn Road, for example, the neighbourhood is affluent but the rates of crime are high.
The rate of crime is generally low. The city centre is safe even at night. You are unlikely to get into trouble anywhere in Belfast during the day. There are plenty of schools and universities in Belfast. Some of the universities where you can pursue your degree include; Queen’s University Belfast, University of Ulster, and Stanmillis University College. Secondary schools include; Ashfield Boys’ High School, Orangefield High School, and Castle High School, Belfast.
It is easy to move around in Belfast. Translink is one of the main providers of public transportation. The most common means of transportation include; rail, air, road, and sea. There are two airports in the city. Routes into Belfast include; Crumlin Road, Oldpark Road, and Antrim Road. The Westlink dual carriageway is a significant road scheme in Belfast.
There are plenty of opportunities to meet people in Belfast. The city has plenty of festivals including; Cathedral Quarters Arts Festival and Festival of Fools. There are plenty of restaurants, bars, and parks.
Is Belfast a good place to Work?
Belfast is a great place to live. It is a fast-growing city so finding a job won’t be difficult. The main industries in Belfast are construction, financial services, and software development. Even though the salaries may not be as high as bigger cities such as London, they match the cost of living. The average salary for a software engineer is £29,129. The average for an operations manager is £32,477, the average salary for a software developer is £26,610, and the general average salary is £24, 567.
The most popular job titles in the city include; Software Engineer, Software Developer, and Civil Engineer. The main employers are Allstate and Citibank.
Belfast is a great place to start a business because of fair taxes. The tax rates in the UK are the same so you can be sure of fair rates for self-employment, business, and capital gains taxes.
The transport structure in Belfast is amazing. It is a relatively small city so a lot of the locations are easy to reach. Most of them may be within a walking distance. The bus services are reliable as they navigate through the entire city. You can use rail to get to neighbouring cities. The city continues to invest in the transport system so it can only get better. There are five commercial ports and two airports in the city.
Belfast residents spend an average of 42.7 hours per week at work. There are plenty of rewarding and satisfying job opportunities. The city is an attractive location for companies and the technology industry is one of the fastest growing. It is very easy to find job positions such as technical consultants and support engineers. There are more than 32, 000 people working in the digital industry. The city continues to be one of the most vibrant and attractive places to work.
The city greatly invests in culture. The Belfast City Council focuses on creating a diverse and unique culture and a lot of businesses are centred on it. Festivals include; Belfast International Arts Festival and the Belfast Taste Festival. There are plenty of amazing venues including; the Ulster Hall, the Black Box, and the Grand Opera House. A lot of worldwide theatre performances happen in Belfast.
The rate of unemployment in Belfast continues to go down. It has one of the lowest rates of unemployment in Europe.
Is Belfast a Good Place to Buy a House?
The answer to whether Belfast is a good place to buy a house depends on what you want. If it is because you are moving to Northern Ireland, moving to Belfast may save you a lot of money. Property is cheap and the mortgage is cheap. A lot of people prefer to buy rather than rent. You can find very spacious houses at low costs.
If you plan on buying a home in Belfast as an investment, you may need to be cautious. The market has been flat for a while so it may be difficult to predict whether property prices will go up.
Botanic Avenue is a great place to buy a home. It is behind Queen’s university which is one of the most attractive places in Belfast. Some parts are very quiet by night while others are noisy with a vibrant nightlife. Botanic Avenue is generally safe and lively. If you prefer a neighbourhood with plenty of amenities and pleasant people, it is the right option. It is home to the famous Empire Bar.
Belfast is a great city because there are plenty of pleasant neighbourhoods. It is surrounded by beautiful countryside and magnificent mountains. The city gives you a bit of country life to go with city life. Other popular neighbourhoods include Rosetta and Holywood.
The people of Belfast are very pleasant. It is a diverse city so anyone can fit in. Even though it has had a few problems in the past, Belfast has grown into an amazing city. It is considered the friendliest city in the UK.
The cost of buying a one bedroom property in Belfast is about £75, 000. Three bedroom properties for sale cost about £120, 00 and five bedroom properties cost an average of £250, 000. The average cost of renting a one bedroom property is £325 PCM. Renting a three-bedroom property costs an average of £600 PCM and a five-bedroom property costs an average of £1000 PCM.
Like all cities, some parts of Belfast may be more expensive to buy or rent property than others. The most expensive place to live in Belfast is Castlereagh. Newtownbreda is one of the cheaper options. It is close to plenty of shops, schools, and the city center. The cost of renting in Queen’s Quarters is average. Titanic Quarter also has average rates and there are plenty of new apartments for sales and rent.
Is Belfast a Good Place to Invest
If you plan on starting a business in Belfast, you have a lot of opportunities. The city is brimming with energy, ambition, and potential. There is no shortage of competitive and talented people to make up your workforce. At least 75% of businesses that locate in Belfast end up re-investing. The wide variety of digital infrastructure will make it easy for your business to thrive. With a population of over one million, the city gives you a ready market for your products and services. The city accounts for 18% of the population in Northern Ireland. The population is generally young and therefore energetic. It is well connected to outside markets and its education system is renowned. The cost of gas/electricity is fair so you won’t go on credit trying to transport your goods. The cost of insurance is low so you can protect your business without much trouble. The city requires all businesses to carry businesses insurance.
Is Belfast a Good Place to Raise a Family?
Belfast is a great place to raise a family. There are plenty of schools, amenities, and fun activities for both kids and adults. Whether your child is in high school or pursuing a degree, they have lots of places to study. Newtownbreda and Castlereagh are some of the best neighbourhoods for families. The city has plenty of countrysides and the sea so it is beautiful. The city sits in the middle of mountains which create a climate that is perfect for horticulture. There are more than forty public parks for families to enjoy. The Victorian Botanic Gardens is in the middle of the city. It is one of the most beautiful gardens in the city. The city boasts of its parks and gardens as they form a big part of its heritage. There is no shortage of local wildlife and there are plenty of places to go for walks, picnics, and bird watching.
You do not need to worry about access to health facilities when living in this city. The Belfast Health & Social Care Trust was created by the Department of Health in 2007. Most of the popular specialist centres in Northern Ireland are in Belfast. Some of the top health facilities in the city include The Royal Victoria Hospital and the Belfast City Hospital.
It is very easy to commute within the city. Transportation is mainly by road and there is an extensive road network. The M2 and M22 motorway route covers 36km. 11% of the population uses public transport and 77% of all journeys are by car.
The architecture in Belfast is varied you can find plenty of Edwardian and Victorian landmarks and there are plenty of new buildings as well.
Belfast cuisine is interesting. There are plenty of places to eat and drink both local and international foods. The city loves fresh produce so there are plenty of markets where you can buy the local produce. St. Georges Market is the most popular market for fresh produce. It has plenty of vegetables, fish, and fresh fruit. On Saturday, you can find a variety of specialty and continental food vendors. Sundays are known to feature souvenir sellers and local artists. There are plenty of great restaurants including Buba and the Muddlers Club.
Consider living in Newtownbreda if you plan on moving to Belfast with family. The residential suburban community was once a little village but it has grown into one of the most pleasant places to live in Belfast. It is a middle-class community with amenities such as churches, schools, and shopping centres.
Is Belfast a Good Place to Retire?
Belfast is a great place to retire and Ormeau Road is one of the most pleasant neighbourhoods. It is scenic, quiet, and close to amenities such as restaurants, health facilities, and shopping centres. Living in Belfast, you will get amazing views of Samson and Goliath-the Harland & Wolff Cranes. If you like reading you will enjoy the massive Queen’s University library which is open to public membership. Holywood is another great neighbourhood for retirement. It is a short drive from the city center. The neighbourhood has seaside houses and it is close to some of Northern Ireland’s best towns.
The quality of life in the city is great. In 2018, it was named the happiest region in the United Kingdom. There are over 80 cultural festivals annually and in 2018, 87% of residents took part in arts and cultural activities. The city has 47 public parks.
Belfast has a pleasantly warm and temperate climate. July is the hottest month and January is the coldest month of the year. It receives a fair amount of rainfall throughout the year and October is the wettest. It is a great place to live if you enjoy outdoor activities.
Is Belfast a Good Place to Visit?
Belfast is a great place to visit at any time of the year if you are an expat. There are plenty of things to do and iconic natural attractions. Titanic Belfast is ‘the world’s largest Titanic visitor attraction.’ The landmark building has nine interactive exhibitions that demonstrate how the city came to be. They show how Belfast has grown from the shipbuilding town it was to one of the most beautiful cities in Northern Ireland. The infamous Titanic was built here.
Ulster Museum is a beautiful museum is close to the Waterfront Hall. It is a popular attraction for both visitors and locals because it represents the positive side of Belfast without hiding its dark past. Some of the exhibits include an Egyptian Mummy that is 2500 years old, ancient relics, and modern pieces.
Belfast Zoo is a great place to visit with family. The zoo set on 55 acres of land has over 140 animal species. It is one of the oldest attractions in the city. It is popular for its Asian Elephants, Sumatran Tigers, and ring-tailed lemurs. If you are looking for an opportunity to see some amazing tropical plants and amazing wildlife, it is a perfect choice.
About the author: Marta Kovachek is the author of this article. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a master’s degree in Economics. Marta enjoys writing about the current economic situation and loves helping our readers to find their next "destination". From places to live to complex social and economic topics, we always enjoy Marta's work. Please contact us in case of any questions.