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Most popular cities to move to in Wales – report

27 Feb 2024 4 minute read
Cardiff at Night. Image: Pete Birkinshaw

A report has analysed the moving habits of people moving to Welsh cities- with one of them a clear front runner when it comes to popularity.

Removal comparison website Compare My Move gathered data from 2023 to report on which Welsh cities were the most popular among movers in the past year.

The report explores what has changed in moving habits among Welsh cities over the past two years, and what this will mean for movers in 2024.

The capital city

Of all the people who moved to a Welsh city in 2023, 48.29% of them moved to Cardiff – comfortably beating Swansea by a percentage difference of 26%.

The Top 5

However, although the Welsh capital has retained its top spot from 2022, it has seen a 3.83% decline in people deciding to move there.

Swansea. Image: Enjoy Travel Group

The majority of Cardiff’s mover decline was taken on by Swansea, which saw the largest year-on-year increase in people moving to the city in 2023 at almost 5%.

This increase helped Swansea surpass Newport as the second most popular Welsh city to move to in 2023.

Newport itself saw a slight decline and dropped to the third most popular Welsh city to move to last year.

Wrexham and Bangor take up the 4th and 5th places, both seeing a slight increase in the percentage of people moving there. Bangor had a larger increase and has closed the gap with Wrexham by just under 1.5%.


When comparing the trends of which cities people are moving to with the average house price of those cities, we can see that the most expensive cities, Cardiff and Newport, saw a decline in people moving there from 2022 to 2023.

Yet, the three cheaper cities for home buyers saw a larger increase in people moving there.

Newport City Centre. Credit: LDRS

Of the top 3 most popular cities to move to in Wales, Swansea has the cheapest average house prices, over £42,000 cheaper than the Newport average and just under £90,000 cheaper than Cardiff.

Average house prices. Source: Rightmove

2023 also saw the highest mortgage interest rate rises in 20 years, with an average high for a 30-year fixed mortgage being 8.45%.

This would fuel a reluctance to buy, especially when it comes to the more expensive properties. It is, therefore, no surprise that Swansea was a popular destination, and why Cardiff and Newport saw a fall.

2024 Forecast

Mortgage rates have since dropped slightly and are not at the same peak they were in the highest parts of 2023. UK house prices rose 0.7% month-on-month in January and saw a further recovery in the annual rate of change, with prices down just 0.2% compared with a year ago, according to the latest Nationwide house price index.

This shows growing movement for the housing market, with many more people buying houses.

Compare My Move has seen a significant rise in people enquiring about conveyancers between December 2023 and January 2024, seeing a 110% total increase in enquiries.

Bangor. Picture by Andrew Woodvine (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Even with these positive signs, it’s hard to predict exactly where the housing market will be in 2024.


Compare My Move Founder and property expert Dave Sayce said: “People would’ve put off moving home in 2023 due to the high mortgage rates, and therefore we are going to see an influx of movers in 2024.

“However, although mortgage interest rates have decreased slightly, we are still seeing a Bank of England base rate of 5.25% so it’s likely people will still be targeting cheaper properties and cities.

“This being said, I predict that we will continue to see a rise in the percentage of people moving to Welsh cities, ending up in Swansea and that Newport will also see a rise.

“Although more people will move to Cardiff in 2024 than in 2023 from more expensive cities such as Bristol or London, I suspect that we will see a decrease in the percentage change when it compares to other Welsh cities.”

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