Southampton is famous for its bustling student life and successful football team. The largest city in Hampshire County is a lot more than its universities and professional sports teams. Southampton is a major port city and lies at the confluence of three rivers.
The city has quite a large population and has the facilities to support that population with a large shopping centre and general hospital to name a few. If you plan on moving to the UK, Southampton is a city that you should pay close attention to.
Is Southampton a good place to live? The city is shaped by water. It has a rich history and heritage that its residents rarely appreciate. It is also a coastal town with incredible parks and green patches of land. Southampton has plenty of excellent social amenities that make the answer; yes, Southampton is a good place to live.
If you plan on moving to Southampton, there is much to be said about the city. I will do my best to present the facts but ultimately the decision is up to you. Southampton city has one of the quickest growing economies in the country and more opportunities are presented every day. The city’s natural beauty and coastal location is a great determinant for those who plan on moving to the UK. Southampton is well connected to other areas which can make it a commuter town but also has plenty of attractions you have to visit the city to truly appreciate.
Is Southampton a good place to live?
A bad or good neighbourhood in Southampton will depend on its judgement. Being a university city, there will be places with plenty of students that tend to be very noisy. Others will have high levels of crime. However, judged on security and economic status, good neighbourhoods will include places like Highfield, Basset, the Polygon, Eastleigh, Hedge End, Portswood and Bitterne. Millbrook, Flowers Estate, Shirley, Bargate, Northam and St. Mary’s are some of the worse neighbourhoods in Southampton.
According to UK Crime Stats, violent crimes form the bulk of criminal activity in Southampton which is not a good sign. Criminal damage and arson came in second on the list of most prevalent crimes in Southampton. Moreover, bike theft in Southampton is way higher than the national average. However, crime rates in Southampton are generally lower than the UK average. Bargate was the area in Southampton that has the highest crime rates by far. Areas like Bevois, Bitterne and Hairfield are also very high in crime.
As said earlier, Southampton is primarily known as a university town and rightfully so because it has two universities namely the University of Southampton and Southampton Solent University which have a combined population of around 40,000 people.
There are 79 state-run schools in Southampton including over twenty primary schools like Newlands Primary School, Basset Green Primary, Thornhill Primary School and Banister Primary School. There are 10 secondary schools in Southampton two of them with sixth forms. There are also plenty of infants, junior and special schools. Independent schools in Southampton include schools like the Gregg School and King Edward VI School.
Southampton is a port city and is home port to some of the largest cruise ships in the world. The city is crucial to UK’s cruise industry and large cruise ships will regularly be seen in Southampton waters. Three ferry services can be accessed via Southampton. However, they are all inland ferry services. If you are moving to Southampton you can be comfortable that you can get a flight out of Southampton Airport to the UK and European destinations that are close by.
The airport can be accessed via train and bus. Southampton has an extensive rail network used to transport cargo and passengers. Southampton Central is the main train station with other stations distributed all over the city. Southampton is connected to London by road via the M3 motorway. The city also connects to the South of England via the M27.
Southampton has a very lively social scene particularly because of its many student residents. There are plenty of bars and pubs where you and your friends can enjoy a pint till late into the night. Some of the more famous watering holes include South Western Arms, Guide Dog and the Red Lion. There also many amazing restaurants in places like Bevois Valley and Oxford Street, all offering something different. I can assure you that is only the tip of the iceberg with plenty of social hotspots spread throughout Southampton.
Is Southampton a good place to work?
Southampton has a very low unemployment rate of 5.5% which unfortunately is slightly higher than the national average.
The average salary in Southampton is £35,000 which is below the UK average of £36,600.
The average male salary in Southampton is £40,000 while the female average is £29,000. Majority of the jobs in Southampton are white collar jobs with blue collar jobs being only 19% of the total workforce.
Human health and social work activities industry employed the most people in Southampton. Southampton City Council, the University of Southampton and the National Health Service are some of the largest employers in the city. Simplyhealth, Gattaca and IBM are some of the largest private employers in Southampton. The wholesale and retail trade industry also employees a significant portion of the population in Southampton.
Is Southampton a good place to buy a house?
Just as in any city around the world, there are good and bad neighbourhoods. good neighbourhoods will include places like Highfield, Basset, the Polygon, Eastleigh, Hedge End, Portswood and Bitterne. Millbrook, Flowers Estate, Shirley, Bargate, Northam and St. Mary’s are some of the worse neighbourhoods in Southampton.
The average price for a home in Southampton is £299,445.
The average price for a detached house is £451,350 while the average price for a semi-detached house is £283,466. The average price of a terraced house in Southampton is £240,605 while that for a flat is £182, 901.
The average rent for a one bedroom property in Southampton is £629 per month. The average monthly rent for a two bedroom flat is £837 while that for a three bedroom property is £1075. You will have to pay an average rent of £1390 per month for a four bedroom flat while it cost you an average of £1770 per month to rent a five bedroom property.
The average purchase price of a one bedroom property in Southampton is £125,000. The average price of a two bedroom property is £187,500 and the average price at which you will buy a three bedroom property is £267,225. The average price of a four-bedroom flat is £358,925 while that of a five-bedroom property is £473,560.
Is Southampton a good place to retire?
Southampton has been consistently rated as one of the best places to live in the UK. However, Southampton is not the ideal town for a retiree unless they really want to live in a town by the sea. Students and seniors do not normally coexist.
Southampton is a place that is ideally suited to the young and lively. That is not to mean that there are no retirement properties in the city. In fact, they are plenty but their suitability as a retirement property largely depends on their location. Retirement properties like Chestnut Lodge, Dawtrey Court, Haven Court, Homepoint House and the Boathouse constantly have apartments available for sale.
The price of retirement properties in Southampton either for rent or purchase is not much different than that for regular flats. Therefore, you can use the rents and prices of other properties as a guide of how much a retirement property will cost.
Is Southampton a good place to visit?
Southampton is an absolutely amazing place to visit. The city is calling for exploration of both its storied past and their associated landmarks. There are also many modern day events to make a trip to Southampton worth it.
The primary destination of choice for most tourists is, of course, St. Mary’s Stadium, if you can get a ticket. Being part of an English Premier League game is an experience like no other. The atmosphere is electric, the sound deafening and the passion beyond reason. Not many cities in the UK can claim to have a Premier League team and a visit to St. Mary’s stadium will show you why Sotonians can afford to brag.
Tudor House and its gardens is another important landmark in Southampton. The impressive building has stood for close to a millennium and has a fascinating history with its inhabitants being from all walks of life. Recent renovations and improvements to the property have included great displays and facilities. The gardens are heavenly and tranquil, surely a place worth a morning visit.
Southampton and the sea are inextricably linked. The city has a rich maritime history and the best place to visit to appreciate and learn more about that history is the Sea City Museum. The state of the art museum will clearly reveal the deep connection between Southampton, its residents and the sea. The visit will not only be fun but also interactive.
Other places that deserve a mention include Netley Abbey, Bargate, Beaulieu, the city’s Medieval walls and the Titanic Trail.
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.