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What is the cost of living in Sunderland?

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Sunderland is one of the cheapest places to live in the UK. In fact, Halifax ranked it the 11th most affordable city in 2021, so it’s a great option if you want to live comfortably on a budget.  

The Dun Cow Pub in Sunderland and the Firestation pub

Sunderland house prices are lower than in other parts of the country, which means lower-cost private renting and university accommodation. Below are some typical monthly costs for a student living in Sunderland, to help you work out your own budget.

How much you spend is up to you – for this reason, we've provided three versions: a budget option, an average option, and an expensive option. You can try our PANDA budgeting tool which allows you to enter your expected income and outgoings for a term and calculate how much money you will have remaining. 

Item Budget Average Expensive


£300 £420 £540
Travel £0 £15 £30
Food £100 £150 £200
Course materials £15 £32 £50
Clothes, toiletries and grooming £25 £50 £75
Social life £75 £100 £150
Miscellaneous expenses £30 £50 £70
Total monthly cost £545 £867 £1,115


Living costs in detail

Accommodation: £300 – £540 per month

The University of Sunderland has one of the cheapest accommodation fees in the UK and takes the top spot for most affordable in the North East. You can stay in our accommodation for as little as £81 a week for a Standard Room at Clanny House. 

It’s also important to note that rent varies depending on whether you choose university or private accommodation, the facilities available and the size of the living area. University accommodation includes utility bills, Wi-Fi and personal possessions insurance, making it even better value for money.  

Everyday travel: £0 - £30 per month

Sunderland has a great transport system and there are many affordable options to travel around the city. You can travel by bus, train, metro, taxi, electric scooter or walk! The University has two campuses in walking distance of each other, and we also provide a free campus bus.

Average prices of travel around the city: 

  • Sunderland Central bus day ticket: £3.90 
  • Sunderland Metro ticket: £3.60 

Or if you want to adventure a little further to some of the local cities you can check out picturesque Durham or vibrant Newcastle cheaply too. 

  • Return Metro ticket to Newcastle: £4.70 
  • Return Train ticket to Durham: £10.40


Katy Wood, MSc Tourism and Events

The University of Sunderland is a modern University, which has everything you need. It’s really well located in the centre of the City and easy to get around. The clubs and societies are great - I even had a stint in the Surf Club!

Food: £100 - £200 per month

How much you spend on food is up to you. Cooking is the cheapest option – with lots of cheap supermarkets in the area you can do a weekly shop for around £30. There are also plenty of restaurants and cafes in Sunderland with great student deals – look out for happy hours and 2-for-1 offers! 

Course materials: £15 - £50 per month

Depending on your course, you may need to pay for field trips, specialist clothing, or books. Remember that the University has two libraries, so you may be able to borrow all the books you need during your course. You may be eligible for a StudyPLUS award which will help you with your costs.

Clothes, toiletries and grooming: £25 - £75 per month

How much you spend on clothes, shoes, and haircuts is, of course, a matter of personal choice. Just remember that your student card entitles you to an additional 10% discount from many shops in the city of Sunderland.

Social life: £75 - £150 per month

There’s lots to do and see in and around the city and lots of discounted rates for students. Whether that be trips to the beach, enjoying the local bars and restaurants or the theatre/cinema. You will also benefit from 10% off in many of the shops in Sunderland city centre.  

Example social prices:

  • Empire Cinema ticket: £6.99
  • Pint of beer in Sunderland city centre: around £4.50
  • Coffee on campus: around £2.25

Our gym membership costs £120 for the full year.

 Other miscellaneous costs: £30 - £70 per month

  • Mobile phone: £15 - £40 per month
  • TV licence: £12 per month
  • Laundry and household items: £10 - £15 per month

For more information on budgeting and money matters, please contact our Student Financial Guidance Team on studentfinancialguidance@sunderland.ac.uk or 0191 515 2284.

Published: 3 April 2023