Manchester beats London when it comes to best cities for graduates according to a survey out this morning

With rents 58% lower than in the capital and £120 better off after tax, Manchester is etching its way to top of the class according to SpareRoom’s analysis of over 200,000 room ads.

The survey found that Manchester’s average graduate salary is £26,451 compared to its Northern rival Leeds by £2,122.

Graduates who opt for London face the prospect of lower starting salaries (£30,002) and significantly higher rents (£722). This means London grads will have just £1,184 a month to play with, making them £550 worse off. It’s not just about rents either.

The average graduate will be spending 25% of their take home salary on rent in the city but still have £1,306 to spend on having a good time.

Despite average starting salaries being £3,550 lower in Manchester than London, grads are more than £120 a month better off in Manchester than their London-based counterparts. Take Rebecca Allan, 23, for example. She used SpareRoom to find a flat in Manchester, after choosing to stay in the city post-university and spends £390 a month on rent, including bills – £332 under the London average (£722).

Rebecca explains why she opted to stay in Manchester rather than head to the capital:

”I loved Manchester as a student and it didn’t even cross my mind to move to London or back home to Dorset because I was so happy here. People often move away after uni but I wasn’t nervous about meeting new people because there’s so much to do in Manchester and plenty of opportunities to make new friends. The people here are also really friendly. They’ll talk to you at the bus stop which I can’t imagine happening in London!”

Matt Hutchinson, director of SpareRoom comments:

“Where you choose to study can add thousands to the cost of your degree, simply due to regional variation in rents. That’s just as true when you graduate. The idea that there’s some magical London salary bump that makes rents affordable simply isn’t true. London room rents are 30% higher than the next most expensive UK city – the typical graduate starting salary would need to be almost £40,000 to compensate.

“London is a great city, but the UK has several great cities and recent grads might just find a better fit for them if they consider other options. If you really can’t shake the London bug you can always move to London later on – it’s not going anywhere.”

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