Space To Swing A Cat

Ever wondered how much floor space your house budget can buy you? Compare the price per square foot (or metre) for every postcode in the UK.

Author: Sebastian Anthony. Published: 3 October, 2019.

House prices are finally settling down across the UK, with the average house price now at £220,700*. The size of a typical home, however, continues to dwindle.

The average size of a new UK home today is just 729.79ft2 (67.8m2). To put that in perspective, that's 20% smaller than in the 1970s, when homes averaged almost 900ft2 (83.3m2).

It seems the expression, “Not enough room to swing a cat” is becoming more of a reality by the day.

But it’s not all doom and gloom when it comes to house sizes and prices. There are still plenty of towns and cities across the UK where you can get a bit of extra bang for your buck.

Bankrate has swung into the data to see how price-to-space ratios differ across the UK. Use the tool below to find out where in the UK you'd have space to swing a cat.

(NB. No animals were harmed during this project.)

How much space can I get for my money?

Enter your budget and a postcode to see how much floor space you can get compared to other parts of the UK.

W1K - Westminster

The cheapest squarefootage you can buy is in Middlesbrough in the North East, where it costs just £43.71 per square foot**. Here, homebuyers paying the national average of £220,700*** would get 5,349ft2. That's the equivalent of roughly 2.5 tennis courts.

The most you can get for your money in Wales is in Ferndale, Rhondda Cynon Taf, at £62.94 per square foot. In Scotland, the cost per square foot is cheapest in Tighnabruaich, Argyllshire at £64.78. And the cheapest price in Northern Ireland is £95.33, in Strabane.

The most expensive floorspace in the whole of the UK is the London Borough of Westminster. In Mayfair, property costs a staggering £2479.74 per square foot. The cheapest London borough is Barking & Dagenham.

First time buyers would get just 89ft2 of floorspace when paying the national average in Mayfair. That equates to the floorspace of 10 phone boxes or just under 25 cat litter trays.

£1 million could get 22,879ft2 in Middlesbrough compared to 403ft2 in Westminster. That's the equivalent of a third of a professional football pitch versus less floorspace than a double decker bus.

In the rest of the UK, it's unsurprising that the most expensive places are capital cities:

  • In Edinburgh (EH1) you'd pay on average £334 per square foot
  • In Cardiff (CF14) it's £233 per square foot
  • In Belfast (BT1), you'd pay £167 per square foot

Some of the most expensive areas outside of London are:

  • Guildford
  • Hillingdon
  • Epping Forest
  • Oxford

Out of the 10 largest UK cities, Liverpool and Birmingham offer the most floorspace per pound.

In parts of Liverpool (L4), property can be as low as £81 per square foot. In Birmingham, it's £119 per square foot (B19). For £220,700 you could get 2,7052 in Liverpool and 1,846ft2 in Birmingham.

With its motto Multum in Parvo translating to “much in little”, Rutland is the county with the smallest population in the UK. Here, properties cost an average of £216 per square foot (LE15).

The desire for space may extend beyond your property to your neighbourhood in general. The UK district with the lowest population density is the Eden District in Cumbria. Here, properties cost around £127 per square foot (CA9).

While exciting, buying your first home can be a truly daunting task. The mantra 'location, location, location' is not one to be forgotten. And how much space you can swing that imaginary cat in will have a real impact on your day to day quality of life.

Prices vary hugely across the UK, but Bankrate's tool makes it easier to see how and where you can get the most space for your money.

Learn more about buying your first home

*LABC Warranty **Hometrack, September 2019 ***Zoopla Cities Index, August 2019