Moving to Leeds from the US

What do Cluedo, the UK’s most expensive furniture and M&S have in common? They were created in Leeds.

Leeds is the 3rd largest city in the UK and has one of the largest economies outside of London. It is a beautiful city rich with industrial heritage with the medieval town hall and the stunning city center. It also boasts stunning theaters, wide open parks and a host of museums, churches, and historical houses to explore.

As a place to work, Leeds has a lot to offer thanks to its singular position as a market leader in the dot-com revolution in the UK. A third of all UK internet traffic passes through leads and the enterprise and startup markets here are unlike anywhere else in the country. Coupled with this the city boasts a very diverse economic structure encompassing manufacturing and services across a broad spectrum of sectors.

As a place to live, Leeds offers everything you’d expect from a large city- a vibrant nightlife, cultural events and a well-rounded arts and music scene. If that’s not enough you also have a huge shopping mall, the infamous Leeds music festival and the tranquil, rolling Yorkshire countryside on your doorstep.

Job market

Leeds is in a period of rapid development at the moment and has enjoyed business growth of 39% over the last decade. Average salaries are around $29,835 a year and its GVA is almost $24.86 billion; making it one of the largest economies in the UK.

A number of major companies have their headquarters here including Asda, Jet2, GHD, First Direct, Leeds Building society and Yorkshire Bank. The city is also popular with internet startups and has a thriving entrepreneurial skill pool and support network.

Key Industries

Leeds has a number of core industries but enjoys a wide spread of businesses and sectors.

Distribution and logistics – Accounting for 16% of the local economy distribution and logistics are incredibly important to the local economy. With its location Leeds acts as one of the major distribution points for the north of England. The sector employs over 35,000 people across a broad spectrum of jobs from consultancy and management to operations.

Business services – Accounting for 13.6% of the Leeds economy, business service providers find Leeds a great base of operations. The center of the city is home to marketing companies, management companies, web developers and consultancy firms with all major sectors represented.

IT and communication – Leeds has led the digital revolution in the UK and the sector still accounts for 6.5% of all employment in the city. You can find a myriad of IT and communication companies based here from service providers to consultancy firms and everything in between.

Financial services – Accounting for 11.1% of the local economy Leeds has the 7th largest financial services sector in the UK. It is home to First Direct, Capita, Leeds Building Society and the Yorkshire Bank. Though not as much of a growth sector as in other regions financial services opportunities are still widely available here and the area is keen to acquire new financial talent.

Public and health sectors – Making up 18.9% of the local economy the public and health sectors are a major employer in the region. This is largely thanks to the cities large hospitals and the local Leeds City Council. These two employers make up almost 10% of the cities employment. In addition the education sectors account for large scale employment thanks to the areas universities and abundance of secondary schools.

Production and manufacturing – Accounting for 11.8% of the local economy manufacturing still remains very strong in the city. Specialist areas include engineering, consumables production, chemical engineering and medical technologies.

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Cost of living

Leeds is on par with most other major UK cities like Manchester in terms of cost of living though rents remain much lower than other cities in the north.


The average city center apartment costs $715 per month while further afield prices drop to a palatable $530. This is much lower than other major cities though of course you can find many more expensive properties if your budgets allow.

The average house in the city center will cost $1180 per month to rent while outside the city prices drop to just $860 per month. With average wages of $29,196 a year Leeds is a very affordable place to live.

Whilst rent is undoubtedly your most expensive outlay other things in the city are not too unreasonable. Average food and drink bills are in line with the rest of the country and you can eat out from just $12.45 per person.


Local transport links are good as well with a monthly bus ticket costing just $68. The city is fairly cyclist friendly as well if you enjoy cycling – but there is more work needed on some of the major roads in terms of safety.


Entertainment is plentiful in the city thanks to the large student population and the buzzing Call Lane club scene. The art and music scenes in the city are also thriving with the city’s rich musical history still much in evidence today.

Property information

Buying property in Leeds is fairly expensive compared to some other northern English cities with average prices of $208,360. Semi-detached houses are the most common properties whilst detached properties average $372,725 or more. In the city center you can buy luxury apartments for $745,450 and upwards.

The city center of Leeds is generally cheaper with average prices of $161,520 as the majority of people commute from the outskirts or suburbs. Chapel Allerton and Otley are some of the best suburbs in the area whilst further towards the city you might want to try Horsforth.

The city center itself has a less salubrious reputation, though Cookridge, Chapel Allerton, Moortown, Alwoodley, Shadwell, Weetwood, Rawdon, and Meanwood are all nice enough areas to live.

Schools and education

Leeds has a well-established school system with a very diverse range of schools.

Independent schools

In terms of the league tables the best schools are the independent schools – most of which can be found further outside the city in the commuter belt. The top independent schools in the city are The Grammar School At Leeds and Woodhouse Grove School.

State schools

Leeds is also fortunate to have a number of high performing state schools including St Mary’s Catholic Comprehensive School, Menston, Wetherby High School and Garforth Academy. These schools have the highest numbers of pupils attaining 5 a-c grades at GCSE level but given the region’s size you can expect fierce competition for places.

Cost of moving to Leeds

Moving to Leeds is relatively inexpensive and comparable to the rest of the UK. Aside from your initial living costs and transport costs you will need to ship your belongings. As you will be moving from abroad a shipping company will be your best option. The average shipping cost of moving for a family of three from the following cities will cost approximately:

FromEstimated Cost
New York$2485