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Buying a property in Cambridge: a complete guide

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property investment Cambridge

Yes, the analysis of Cambridge's property market is included in our pack

Wondering about buying a nice property in Cambridge? You're not alone!

Many people are drawn to Cambridge's academic legacy and fantasize about owning a charming period house or a modern apartment there.

Would it be a smart investment, though? Are property prices increasing in Cambridge? What is the current trend? Should I buy property in the city center or Newnham? What are the taxes? Which place will give me the best yields?

We have the answers.

The Investropa team has done their homework and know this market well. As a matter of fact, we've gathered all our findings in a pack. Get it now.

In the lines below, we'll share useful information and some practical tips.

How is the real estate market in Cambridge?

Is the property market doing fine or not? A data-driven analysis will give us the answer.

Types of properties

In Cambridge, you can find various types of properties for sale to suit different preferences and needs.

These include apartments and condos, which are perfect for individuals or small families looking for a low-maintenance living space. For larger families or those who prefer more space, there are townhouses and semi-detached houses available. If you prefer a standalone home with a yard, detached houses might be the right choice for you.

Additionally, you might come across charming cottages or bungalows that offer a cozy and traditional living experience.

Finally, there are also luxury properties and estates available for those seeking a more lavish and upscale lifestyle.

With such a diverse range of properties, Cambridge offers something for everyone in the real estate market.

Better to buy or rent?

(If you're purchasing for personal use and not for renting)

If Cambridge is your city of choice, you may be pondering the buy vs. rent decision in this historic university town in the United Kingdom.

Generally, buying is a better choice than renting in Cambridge due to its high demand and limited availability of rental properties.

In contrast, for those who seek flexibility, renting is the recommended option.

Property prices in Cambridge

On average, according to the last data from Halifax and Bank of Scotland, purchasing a property in Cambridge should cost you around $4,400 per square meter.

Of course, prices vary. An apartment in Cambridge city center might have a different price per square meter than a suburban house in Chesterton. We actually give you a more detailed breakdown in our pack for buying property in Cambridge and in the UK.

To put things in perspective, it is 4.3 times less than the property prices in the center of New York.

Also, housing prices in Cambridge are 68% cheaper than in London.

The most expensive neighbourhoods in Cambridge are probably West Cambridge and Porter Square, while the least expensive are probably East Cambridge and Central Square.

Cambridge Property Price per Square Meter


First and foremost, we have to acknowledge that the United Kingdom remains, today, a very stable country. The last Fragile State Index that has been reported for this place is 40.6.

Don't overlook this while weighing the pros and cons of buying a property in Cambridge.

Also, according to the IMF’s forecasts, the UK's economy is expected to soar by 6% in the coming 5 years, resulting in an average GDP growth rate of 1.2%.

If you intend to invest in real estate in Cambridge it's a good thing because a positive growth rate (usually) leads to higher incomes for citizens, enabling them to invest in real estate, which boosts demand and prices for properties.

Also, in the UK, the average GDP per capita has changed by 0.5% over the last 5 years. The growth, although minimal, is still present.

Looking for more updated data? We've done a big-picture study to find out if it's a good idea to purchase property in the UK right now.

Buying property in Cambridge

Buying real estate in Cambridge can be difficult due to the lack of reliable and up-to-date information available. That's why we have created the pack to buy property in Cambridge and in the UK.

Buying process

Inside our pack, we've outlined the complete buying process, including a detailed breakdown of prices and yields per area, tips for negotiating the price, and information about mortgage options.

Here, we're presenting you with a more straightforward version.

This is the step-by-step process to purchase a property in Cambridge:

  1. Determine your budget and secure financing from a UK lender.
  2. Engage a local real estate agent familiar with the Cambridge market.
  3. Search for properties in Cambridge that meet your preferences and needs.
  4. Attend property viewings and assess each one's suitability.
  5. Make an offer through your agent, using the UK-specific Property Information Form (TA6).
  6. Negotiate the price and terms, while adhering to the UK's property laws and regulations.
  7. Perform a property survey, such as the HomeBuyer Report or Building Survey.
  8. Hire a solicitor who specializes in UK property law to handle conveyancing.
  9. Exchange contracts with the seller and provide a deposit, typically 5-10% of the property's value.
  10. Arrange a mortgage with a UK lender and secure adequate property insurance.
  11. Complete the purchase on the agreed-upon date, finalizing all financial transactions.
  12. Upon completion, your solicitor will handle the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) and Land Registry registration, and you will receive the keys to your new Cambridge property.

Also, if you're not from the country, you might want to check our article on how to buy property as a foreigner in the UK.

Make a profitable investment in Cambridge

Better information leads to better decisions. Save time and money. Download our guide.

buying property in Cambridge

Where to find a property

You may begin your property search in Cambridge with these helpful websites:

  • Zoopla - Find properties, review house prices, and receive expert advice on purchasing, renting, and selling homes.
  • Rightmove - A property search platform in the UK, presenting homes for sale and rent, house prices, and property news.
  • Find UK Property - Specializing in UK property for overseas buyers, UK expats, and buy-to-let investors. They offer cost-effective houses with guaranteed rent and property management.
  • - The UK's all-inclusive property search platform, linking buyers and renters to over 566,000 properties and a variety of estate and letting agents.
  • On the Market - A property search platform providing UK homes for sale and rent, presenting new properties before they appear on Rightmove or Zoopla.

Also, know that we have included contacts of real estate agencies, property lawyers, moving companies, expats communities and more in our pack for buying property in the UK.

What you can get

As mentioned before, the average price per sqm in Cambridge is $4,400. A 1-bedroom property with 60 square meters would cost approximately $264,000, and a 2-bedroom with 85 square meters would cost approximately $374,000.

However, prices will change based on both the property itself and its location.

You can expect prices to be steeper in the upscale parts of Cambridge. If you're looking at Newnham, a house could cost you around $830,000, but an apartment in the Market Area might be priced at $470,000.

But there are less expensive options in certain locations. You could find a residence in Arbury for $440,000, or you may encounter a residence in East Chesterton priced at $280,000.

We give a more detailed breakdown in our full pack for buying property in the UK.

Mistakes to avoid

Here are the main pitfalls when buying a property in Cambridge, UK:

  • Green Belt restrictions: Limited development and potential limitations on property expansions.
  • Listed buildings: Costly upkeep and restrictions on alterations for historically significant properties.
  • Chancel repair liability: Unexpected financial responsibility for church repairs in certain areas.
  • University influence: Seasonal demand fluctuations due to student population and term-time rentals.
  • Traffic congestion: Certain areas suffer from heavy traffic, affecting convenience and property value.
  • Radon gas: Some properties may have radon exposure, requiring mitigation measures.
  • Conservation areas: Stringent planning regulations impacting modifications and renovations.
  • Erosion risk: Coastal properties face potential erosion problems, affecting long-term stability and insurance costs.

We don't want this to happen to you, so we have included a full checklist for your property investment in our pack of documents. Avoid these mistakes and save a lot of money.

real estate The United Kingdom

Everything you need to know is included in our United Kingdom Property Pack

Living in Cambridge

Living in Cambridge is a great experience, offering a vibrant city life and beautiful countryside, making it an ideal place for those looking to buy property.

Cost of living

The cost of living in Cambridge is generally higher than the national average due to its status as a popular college town and its proximity to Boston. Housing costs tend to be particularly high in the area, but the cost of other necessities such as groceries and transportation are in line with the rest of the country.

Here are some examples to better understand the cost of living in Cambridge:

  • Monthly rent for a cozy apartment in the picturesque Mill Road area: $2,000-$3,300.
  • A pint of local Cambridge craft beer (e.g., Moonshine Brewery or Calverley's Brewery) at a traditional pub: $5-$7.
  • Monthly transportation pass for buses within Cambridge: $70-$90.
  • A cup of traditional Cambridge-style tea with a Chelsea bun: $3-$5.
  • Admission to the Fitzwilliam Museum: Free (donation optional).
  • Monthly membership at a Cambridge-based fitness studio or yoga studio: $50-$100.
  • Fresh produce from the Cambridge Market Square for a week: $25-$50.
  • A bottle of local Cambridge gin (e.g., Cambridge Distillery or Pinkster Gin) from a liquor store: $30-$50.


Since we like to make information easy to understand, we've created a summary table outlining the various neighborhoods in Cambridge. For yields, prices and rents, check our property pack.

Neighborhood Description Strengths Weaknesses

Harvard Square

Harvard Square is a vibrant and bustling neighborhood known for its intellectual atmosphere, historic architecture, and diverse dining and shopping options.

Rich cultural and academic scene, great public transportation access, and a wide variety of entertainment options.

Can be crowded and expensive, limited parking availability.

Central Square

Central Square is a lively and diverse neighborhood with a mix of residential and commercial spaces, offering a unique blend of cultural experiences and community events.

Great food scene, easy access to public transit, and a dynamic arts and music community.

Some areas may be less safe at night, limited green spaces.


Cambridgeport is a charming neighborhood with tree-lined streets and parks, offering a peaceful atmosphere while still being close to the city's amenities.

Proximity to the Charles River, excellent schools, and a strong sense of community.

Limited nightlife options, higher housing costs.

East Cambridge

East Cambridge is a rapidly growing area with a mix of industrial and residential spaces, attracting young professionals and families.

Close to tech and biotech companies, good public transportation links, and scenic views of the Charles River.

Limited green spaces, some parts undergoing gentrification.

North Cambridge

North Cambridge is a quieter neighborhood with a suburban feel, known for its residential streets and local businesses.

Relatively affordable housing options, good schools, and a strong sense of community.

Less access to public transportation, limited nightlife options.

West Cambridge

West Cambridge is an upscale residential neighborhood with tree-lined streets and larger properties, providing a tranquil living environment.

Beautiful architecture, proximity to parks and nature reserves, and low crime rates.

Limited commercial and entertainment options, higher cost of living.

Porter Square

Porter Square is a bustling area with a mix of residential and commercial spaces, known for its diverse dining options and shopping opportunities.

Great public transportation access, vibrant cultural scene, and proximity to Harvard University.

Noise and traffic congestion, limited parking.

Inman Square

Inman Square is a lively and eclectic neighborhood with a mix of restaurants, bars, and independent shops, attracting a diverse community.

Diverse food scene, vibrant nightlife, and local events.

Some areas may be less safe at night, limited green spaces.

Life in Cambridge

Cambridge is home to a thriving local economy, driven by the technology, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical industries. It is also a major educational and cultural hub, with many universities and research institutions located in the city.

What expats usually like the most in Cambridge is the city's historical charm, with its cobbled streets, old buildings, and famous university, as well as the range of cultural activities and events that are on offer.

A good point for a property investor - there is a bus rapid transit system called the Busway in Cambridge.

Cambridge has excellent access to healthcare, with a wide range of public and private healthcare providers offering a variety of services.

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invest real estate in Cambridge

Renting out in Cambridge

If you're interested in buying property not to live in, but to rent out and generate income, this section is for you.


Tenant Profiles in Cambridge

According to the data reported by Wikipedia, the home ownership rate in the UK is 63%, which is not much.

It means that, if you decide to buy and rent out in Cambridge, there will be a lot of people who can become your potential tenants.

If you decide to buy and rent out to long-term tenants, you should target young professionals, students, and families, as these are the most common tenant profiles in Cambridge. Additionally, the city is also home to a large population of foreign students and postgraduates, making it a desirable place to rent.

Here is a little summary table we've made for you.

Property type and area Profiles of potential tenants What they are looking for Expected monthly rent in $

Studio in City Centre

Students, young professionals

Urban lifestyle, proximity to university

$900 - $1,600

1-Bedroom Flat in Riverside

Academics, professionals

River views, cultural district

$1,200 - $2,300

Terraced House in Chesterton

Young families, students

Close to amenities, family-friendly

$1,300 - $2,800

Apartment in Mill Road

Professionals, students

Vibrant area, diverse community

$1,000 - $2,000

2-Bedroom Flat in Trumpington

Students, families

Near university, schools

$1,100 - $2,200

Semi-Detached House in Cherry Hinton

Families, professionals

Residential area, green spaces

$1,500 - $3,000

Flat in Arbury

Students, young professionals

Easy access to city, affordable

$800 - $1,500

Rental yields

Nowadays, Cambridge offers some opportunities in terms of rental yields. Actually, you can easily achieve 7 or 8% due to the high demand for rental properties and the relatively low cost of buying property in Cambridge.

In Cambridge, properties located close to the city centre or university tend to have the best rental yields, as they are in high demand from students and professionals looking for convenient access to amenities and transport links. Properties with multiple bedrooms, such as student flats, are also popular and can provide higher rental returns.

For further explanation and a more detailed breakdown, you can check the reports and analyses we have made.

Finally, be aware that rental incomes in Cambridge are taxed at 20%, which is rather good.


You could also decide to rent short-term to students studying at the University of Cambridge, or to business travellers visiting the city.

If you decide to go with that option, look for properties in Central Square, Harvard Square, and Porter Square. These areas are popular with tourists and students and offer plenty of amenities.

Currently, there are approximately 2,805 active Airbnb listings in Cambridge, reflecting a highly dynamic and bustling short-term rental market. The average daily rate stands around $159, which is quite high.

You have the opportunity to generate a nice additional income stream then. According to online testimonials and analytics platform like AirDNA, Guesty and Inside Airbnb, people who offer short-term rentals in Cambridge can make around $2300 per month. Also, the average occupancy rate is estimated at 71%.

Is it worth buying real estate in Cambridge then?

Buying property in Cambridge is a smart move if you're in it for the long haul. This city offers a diverse range of housing options to suit your needs, whether you're a family, a professional, or a student. With a high demand for housing and limited rentals, buying can provide stability and potentially save you money compared to renting. Plus, Cambridge's stable economy and forecasted GDP growth make it an attractive location for real estate investment.

The potential for rental income, especially in central areas and near the university, is a significant perk. And with a relatively low 20% tax rate on rental income, your investment can yield substantial returns.

However, if you're on a tight budget or planning a short stay in Cambridge, buying may not be the best choice. The city's property prices, while not as astronomical as major global cities, can still be steep, and the associated costs of buying and selling property can eat into your finances.

Also, if your future in Cambridge is uncertain due to work or personal reasons, renting offers more flexibility. Furthermore, be aware of property-related risks, such as Green Belt restrictions, maintenance costs for listed buildings, and erosion risks for coastal properties. These factors may make buying a property in Cambridge less appealing in certain situations.

In summary, Cambridge is an excellent place to buy property for long-term residents, investors, or those aiming to capitalize on the city's economic stability and high demand for housing. Yet, it's crucial to assess your financial situation, goals, and the specific property market conditions before committing to a purchase. If you're financially ready and plan to establish roots in Cambridge, buying property can be a rewarding decision.

Make sure you understand the real estate market in Cambridge

Don't rush into buying the wrong property in the UK. Sit, relax and read our guide to avoid costly mistakes and make the best investment possible.

real estate market Cambridge

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and does not imply endorsement or advice. While we strive for accuracy, we do not guarantee the completeness or reliability of the information, including text, images, links, or other elements in this material. Following the content and analyses presented here does not assure specific outcomes. For guidance tailored to your individual circumstances, it is recommended to consult with a professional, such as a lawyer, accountant, or business advisor.