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Is Bristol a good place to live: The pros & cons

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Does a vibrant city overflowing with culture, history and opportunity sound like your dream home? That’s Bristol! From its lovely harbourside to the iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge, this southwestern city has it all. But is it the right place for you?

The Property Buying Company explores the pros and cons of Bristol living, helping you uncover if this is your perfect match.

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Is Bristol a good place to live?

Bristol delivers a unique blend of history, opportunity and a welcoming spirit. With its open green spaces, a fascinating past and a cafe or pub on every corner. 

However, like many cities, Bristol faces the challenges of the current cost-of-living crisis. If you’re seeking a unique city with a strong sense of community, here’s what you might love:

History at your fingertips
  • Dive into the past at the SS Great Britain, Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, the iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge… the list goes on!

Sunday stroll with a view
  • Explore Bristol’s charming old town, wander the bustling harbourside, or lose yourself in the green oasis of Leigh Woods.

Education excellence
  • With top-rated schools and two universities. Bristol is a heaven for students. Get ready to open doors for yourself and your family!

Opportunities galore
  • Bristol’s got a booming economy, whether you’re into tech, finance, the arts, or something totally different. It’s the perfect place to launch a career or try something new.

The Bristol welcome
  • While economic pressures exist, you’ll find friendly faces and a true sense of community. Whether you’re fresh to the city or a Bristol native, there’s a place for you. 

Are people in Bristol friendly?

You bet they are! Imagine this: You're wandering a market, and a stranger compliments your scarf. A flustered moment at the bus stop turns into a chuckle with the person next to you. That's the Bristol spirit – welcoming, down-to-earth, and always ready with a smile.

Bristolians aren't just polite; there's a genuine warmth here. So if you're new in town, don't be surprised if a bit of small talk turns into a coffee invitation. That feeling of home you've been searching for? You might just find it in Bristol.

What is the housing market like in Bristol?

In Bristol, purchase prices are falling while rents continue to climb. Lower purchase prices could finally open doors for those priced out earlier. If this trend persists alongside favourable conditions (low interest rates, accessible mortgages - like the 5% mortgage), it might accelerate the shift from renting to buying to escape rising rental costs.

For potential renters considering the Bristol rental market

The increasingly expensive rental market creates a long-term incentive to consider homeownership. Monitor the market closely for opportunities to make the transition.

For investors considering the Bristol property market

Rising rents in Bristol may present a lucrative opportunity, particularly for Buy-To-Let properties. However, falling purchase prices pose a potential risk to Capital Gains on existing investment. Carefully assess both long-term rental demand alongside the overall market trajectory.

Bristol housing market statistics

According to the Office of National Statistics, the average house purchase price in Bristol has declined 3.3% to £339,000 compared to February 2023. This suggests a cooling market, potentially offering opportunities for buyers who were previously priced out. 

In contrast to declining purchase prices, Bristol’s average monthly rent has climbed 7.7% to £1,748 since March 2023. This suggests strong demand for rental properties, likely influenced by individuals unable to afford homeownership. 

The high monthly rental rates could be advantageous for landlords and rental market investors, as it signals potential for higher returns on investment. 

But, good news for first-time buyers as prices have declined 3.4%, with the average now at £308,000 compared to February 2023. While the decrease is modest, it could make a significant difference in affordability. 

It could also suggest a potential softening in the lower end of the market, which is traditionally where first-time buyers start their homeownership journey.

The average price for mortgage-funded purchases has also declined by 3.5% to £341,000 since February 2023. This decrease likely stems from factors such as stricter lending requirements, buyer hesitancy and rising interest rates, or simply less buyer ability to afford high-price homes.

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What is the quality of life in Bristol?

Numbeo ranks Bristol as a city with a very high quality of life. This is driven by its relatively affordable cost of living compared to other major southern cities like London, making it an attractive option for those seeking an urban lifestyle without the financial burden.

Bristol also boasts lower-than-average crime rates and a well-regarded healthcare system, further bolstering its appeal. 

However, Bristol’s 2023 Quality of Life survey paints a contrasting picture, highlighting the severe impact of the ongoing cost of living crisis on residents. Concerns about daily expenses and essential needs have escalated significantly, underscoring the economic pressures currently facing many Bristolians. 

A concerning number of participants (48%) expressed worry about adequately heating their homes during winter. This crisis has exacerbated existing inequalities, with individuals in the most deprived areas disproportionately affected. 

The survey data revealed a stark decline in overall life satisfaction, dropping to 62% from a  pre-pandemic level of 75%. Food insecurity has increased, with 8% of respondents reporting moderate to severe challenges, doubling to 16% in the city’s most deprived areas.

Rising energy costs remain a major stressor, with nearly half of the respondents indicating significant concern about keeping their homes warm. The city’s support services are experiencing increased demand in response to these challenges. 

Despite the financial strain, some positive trends emerge from the survey. Satisfaction with Bristol’s waste management and recycling services have increased. 

Additionally there's been a decrease in public perception of air quality and traffic pollution as significant local problems. However there’s marked dissatisfaction with the city’s bus services, particularly within the most deprived areas.

The survey also incorporated new questions regarding safety on public transportation. Survey results indicated that 8% of respondents feel unsafe from sexual harassment while using public transport.

This concern is heightened amongst women (12%) and particularly acute for young women aged 16 to 24 (25%). These findings provide crucial data to inform ongoing efforts to promote gender equality and enhance women’s safety throughout Bristol.

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How much do I need to earn to live in Bristol?

If you are considering moving to live in Bristol, then it’s important to know how much you should earn at a minimum before moving here. 

Housing (biggest factor)


  • One bedroom apartment (city centre): £1,100 to £1,400 per month.

  • One bedroom apartment (outside centre): £800 to £1,050 per month.

  • Larger properties will have higher rents.

Buying (example)

  • Average house price: £427,000.

  • 15% deposit: £64,050.

  • Interest rate: 3.92%

  • Term: 25 years.

  • Estimated monthly mortgage payment: £1,900.


Expect around £150 to £200 per month on gas, electric, water and internet. 

Bristol council tax (varies by property value)

BandProperty value rangeCouncil tax charge
AUp to & including £40,000£1,640.20
B£40,001 to £52,000£1,913.60
C£52,001 to £68,000£2,186.95
D£68,001 to £88,000£2,460.32
E£88,001 to £120,000£3,007.05
F£120,001 to £160,000£3,553.80
G£160,001 to £320,000£4,100.53
HOver £320,000£4,920.65


£250 to £350 per month for one person.


  • Monthly bus pass: £80

  • Alternatives: Biking, walking, carpooling could save money. 

Dining out

  • Inexpensive meal out: £15 per person.

  • Three course meal: £60 per two. 

Leisure expenses

  • £15.99 to £49.99 per month for gym memberships.

  • Plenty of free open spaces across the city for other activities. 

Other expenses

  • Clothing, subscriptions, personal care: £100 per month

How much do I need to earn to rent in Bristol?

For those choosing to rent in Bristol:

  • Monthly rent: £900

  • Utilities: £180

  • Council tax: £140

  • Groceries: £300

  • Transportation: £80

  • Lifestyle: £200

  • Savings: £100

Total monthly expenditure for renters amounts to £1,900. To cover these expenses comfortably, it is recommended to have a monthly income of at least £1,900m or an annual income of £22,800. 

This estimation is slightly above the National Living Wage, which would be around £22,006 per year (assuming an hourly wage of £11.44 and a 37 hour work week). Renting in Bristol therefore aligns closely with earning just above the National Living Wage, making it potentially viable for individuals or couples without other financial burdens. 

How much do I need to earn to own a home in Bristol?

For those owning a home with a mortgage:

  • Mortgage payment: £1,900

  • Utilities: £200

  • Council Tax: £410

  • Groceries: £300

  • Transportation: £80

  • Lifestyle: £200

  • Savings: £100

The total monthly costs rise to £3,190, requiring a monthly income of at least £3,190, or an annual income of £38,280. This is significantly higher than the income needed for renting and well above the National Living Wage. 

The higher expenses mainly arise from the mortgage payment and notably higher council tax, which collectively add substantial financial responsibility compared to renting.

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Is it worth living in Bristol?

Absolutely! This vibrant Southwestern city offers a captivating blend of history, culture, opportunity and a welcoming community spirit. 

Bristol pulses with a unique energy. Explore trendy independent shops in Stokes Croft, savour vibrant street art, and lose yourself in the infectious rhythm of its live music scene. From quirky cafes to bustling markets, there's always something new and exciting to discover.

Whether you're an ambitious professional, a creative innovator, or a budding entrepreneur, Bristol is fertile ground for growth.  The city boasts a thriving tech sector, a dynamic arts scene, and a diverse range of industries, providing ample opportunities to launch or advance your career.

Bristol's infectious creativity has launched the careers of icons like Banksy, Maisie Williams, and J.K Rowling. Let the city's vibrant atmosphere fuel your own passions and ignite your imagination.

Why do people move to Bristol?

Bristol draws people from across the globe because it has:

Career builders

Bristol is a launchpad, especially for the tech-savvy, the financially minded and those with a creative spark. It’s big enough to offer ambition, small enough to avoid the London crush.

The good life

Bristol has leafy parks, a buzzing social scene and enough culture to fill a year’s worth of weekends. Bristol isn’t just about work; it’s about living well.

Travel with ease

Bristol Temple Meads connects you to the UK and beyond. Quick trip to London? A weekend exploring Wales? It’s all within reach.

Warm welcome

Bristol has that rare blend: city energy with a friendly heart. Expect smiles, easy chats, and a true sense of belonging - a welcoming change for many former city dwellers.

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What is crime like in Bristol?

Bristol's crime rate is reassuringly lower than the national average. At the time of writing, it stands at 33.6 crimes per 1000 people, compared to the UK average of 75.88 per 1,000 people in 2023. This suggests a generally safe environment. 

Naturally, like any city, some areas of Bristol may experience higher crime rates than others. To find the best fit for you, here’s an overview of some neighbourhoods where extra research is a good idea:


This centrally-located neighbourhood offers excellent transport links. However, it’s important to be aware of the higher-than-average crime rate. If convenience is your top priority, research specific streets within Easton, as safety can vary.


If peace and green spaces near Horfield Common are appealing, balance that with the area’s statistics on burglary and violent crime. Consider your personal comfort level and research crime prevention resources for the area.

Whitchurch Park

This family-orientated spot has shops and schools nearby, but also experiences notable antisocial behaviour and vehicle crime. Assess your priorities - a sense of community might outweigh these concerns, but safety measures may be needed.

Where is the posh part of Bristol?

Bristol boasts several areas of distinction, but for exclusivity, affluence and desirability, Clifton and its neighbouring streets stand apart. This is reflected in the commanding property prices found in the area.

Clifton regions as the poshest part of Bristol and offers high-end living. Here are some of its most prestigious addresses:

  • Berkeley Square, Clifton: With grand Georgian architecture and views towards the iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge, it’s no surprise the average house price here reaches a staggering £1,373,000. This square embodies historical charm and modern-day prestige. 

  • Litfield Place, Clifton: Offering a heaven of elegant homes and a serene atmosphere, this street commands an average house price of £1,458,000.

  • Harley Place, Clifton: This address epitomises luxurious urban living. Beautiful spacious properties and scenic views contribute to its average price of £576,000.

  • College Fields, Clifton: Those desiring a touch of tranquillity amongst the city’s vibrancy find it here. This sought-after location commands an average price of £677,542.

Litfield Place in particular is a renowned street in Clifton, known for its Georgian and regency townhouses, offering a charming and historically significant living environment. 

Situated in the heart of Clifton, Litfield Place is remarkably close to Clifton’s village shops and restaurants and the sprawling greenery of Clifton Downs. The Street itself is tree-lined, well-maintained and boasts an air of luxury and exclusivity.

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The pros of Bristol

There is no doubt that Bristol is seen as one of the best places to live in the UK, it’s in a great location, has a great history and has a bustling nightlife scene. Here are some other pros of Bristol:

Beautiful homes & architecture

Booming housing market

Bristol’s housing market bursts with options! From the quaint charm of Victorian terraces to the sleek energy of riverside apartments, cosy cottages to city-centre penthouses, find your perfect Bristol home. This important city is a fantastic choice for both homeowners and savvy investors.

Fast and easy property sales

Ready to move to Bristol? Sell your property the fast, hassle-free way with The Property Buying Company. We specialise in quick cash purchases, often completing sales within 7 days. Get your free, no obligation cash quote today and experience a stress-free move.

Arts & culture paradise

Street art & local talent

From the iconic works of Banksy to the ever-evolving murals across its walls, Bristol is a city alive with street art. This rebellious spirit fuels a broader creative energy, making Bristol a magnet for artistic talent in all forms.

Galleries, theatres and performance spaces

Immerse yourself in Bristol’s thriving arts scene! Explore diverse galleries, captivating theatres and unique performance spaces. From classic masterpieces to cutting-edge performances, discover local and international talent that will ignite your imagination.

Green spaces

Find moments of tranquillity in Bristol’s beautiful green spaces. Wander the sprawling Ashton Country Estate, marvel at the majestic Avon Gorge or lose yourself in the quiet beauty of Leigh Woods. These urban oases offer a welcome respite from the city’s energy, perfect for peaceful walks or playful dog strolls.

Vibrant culture

Bristol pulses with culture and natural wonders! Discover treasures at the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, lose yourself in the rhythm of live music venues, and soak in breathtaking views across the city.

Thriving job market

Job prospects

Discover a job market exceeds expectations - while London and Manchester get the buzz, Bristol quietly thrives as a hub for tech, finance, aerospace and the creative industries. Major companies here offer competitive salaries, exciting projects and a work environment renowned for its dynamism.

Education excellence

Bristol offers exceptional educational opportunities for families. Choose from a wealth of highly-rated schools and prestigious universities, including UWE Bristol and the University of Bristol. Nurture your children’s academics in a city committed to educational excellence.

Accessible transport links

Ease of travel

Bristol keeps you connected! Explore the UK with ease thanks to excellent rail and road links, including major highways. Within the city, enjoy a walkable lifestyle that lets you discover hidden gems and charming neighbourhoods on foot.

Ideal for exploration

Bristol is your gateway to adventure! Perfectly situated near Bath, Cardiff, Cheddar Gorge and the Cotswolds, it’s the ideal base for unforgettable day trips and weekend escapes.

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The cons of Bristol

While Bristol is a vibrant and culturally rich city, it also presents several challenges that potential residents should consider. 

Balancing budget and benefits

Cost of living

Bristol's cost of living like many desirable cities tends to be on the higher side. Factor in housing, transportation and daily expenses when considering a move. Groceries and other essentials add to the monthly expenses, which can average around £60 per week.

Housing costs

Be aware that renting in Bristol can be expensive. One-bedroom flats in the city centre average between £750-£850 per month, and three bedroom flats can reach up to £1,500 per month, excluding utilities.

Transport issues

Unreliable bus system

While the city has decent rail and motorway connections, its busy system is notoriously unreliable. Frequent delays and unpredictable schedules create frustrating commutes for residents and hinder easy exploration of the city.

Traffic congestion

The city’s heavy traffic congestion creates frustrating delays, contributes to higher pollution levels and makes commutes painfully long. This daily inconvenience, especially during rush hour, can significantly impact the quality of life compared to quieter areas. 

The city’s narrow streets contribute to traffic congestion. Moreover residents have expressed frustrations with medical services, citing long waits for surgeries and inadequate treatment options.

Nightlife and noise

Active nightlife

While the city’s energetic nightlife is a draw for many, it can also disrupt the peace and quiet for some. The central areas, filled with lively bars and clubs may not be ideal for those seeking a more peaceful lifestyle.

Crime rates

Although lower than the national average, certain areas in Bristol experience higher levels of violent crime, which can be a concern for residents and potential home buyers.

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Should you move to Bristol?

Deciding on a move to Bristol hinges on what you value in a city. Bristol pulsates with history, culture and opportunity. 

Families and students thrive in Bristol, thanks to its excellent schools and universities. A booming economy in tech, finance and the arts offers exciting career paths. Bristol’s welcoming community and plentiful green spaces will quickly make you feel at home, fostering a high quality of life.

However, it’s important to be realistic. Though more affordable than London, Bristol still carries a significant cost of living, especially for housing. Currently, falling purchase prices and rising rents create a complex market for both buyers and renters. 

Factor in typical urban challenges like traffic and potentially unreliable public transportation, along with the ongoing cost-of-living crisis. Bristol is undeniably a vibrant, welcoming city teeming with possibilities, but weigh these aspects against the potential downsides.

Is Bristol right for you?


If you crave a lively urban scene, value culture and opportunity and accept a higher cost of living as a result.


If you’re budget-conscious but willing to explore ways to manage expenses and navigate the housing market.


If predictability, low costs and quiet pace of life are your primary needs.

What’s the easiest way to sell your house & move to Bristol?

While moving to a new city can be exciting, selling your old house shouldn’t be stressful. We specialise in making your house sale and move to Bristol as seamless as possible.

We can do this by offering you flexible options like:

  • Cash offer: Need a quick sale? We can buy your house for cash in as little as 7 days (with fair pricing based on market conditions). 

  • Online estate agency: Want the best possible price? Our online agency offers broader reach without the high fees of traditional agents.

  • Online auction: Perfect if you need a fast, guaranteed sale. 

No matter which method you choose, we handle all the associated selling fees, saving you money. 

If you are ready to get started, use our simple postcode form below to get a free valuation and discuss your ideal selling method for a hassle-free move to Bristol.

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