The nation’s capital doesn’t exactly have a reputation for affordability – and for good reason. It’s the most expensive place to live in the UK, and in the top 20 in the world. But, with that being said, this doesn’t paint the full picture: there are many more affordable areas. So, where are the cheapest places to live in London? Let’s take a look.
Cheap areas to live in London
- Barking & Dagenham
Average house prices in London
London’s average house prices are the most expensive of any region of the UK, sitting at an average of £501,000, as of January 2021. This is much higher than the UK average of £249,000, a 7.5% increase compared to 2020.
So, unsurprisingly, it doesn’t feature on the list of cheapest places to buy a house.
Average rent prices in London
Average rental prices in London are £1,580, 85.2% higher than the rest of the UK average which is £853.
That being said, rents have fallen in London due to the pandemic exodus. According to Rightmove, average rents fell 7.8% in the last year, with a 0.7% drop in the last quarter alone. The rental market in the rest of the UK is going the opposite way, with rents rising. In London, average rents are now lower than they were in 2016. However, it’s uncertain how long this will last – and London is still by no means the cheapest place to rent.
What is the cost of living for Londoners?
The average salary in London is £38k, which means some Londoners spend around 64% of their wages on rent. Of course, this could be higher or lower depending on the individual circumstances.
Cost of living for a single person is around £851 a month, not including rent. However, there are many factors that will affect how much someone will pay, including:
- Council tax
- Transport links in the area
- Property size
- Market changes
Many choose to live in a London commuter town as a way to get easy access to the city centre, while still being more affordable. However, for some, the pull of the capital can’t be ignored.
Best affordable places to live in London
While the above might have painted a somewhat bleak picture, London is made up of many different areas, some more affordable than others. Let’s take a look at some average rents in London, as well as sold prices*.
*Accurate as of December 2020, according to the latest UK house price index
12 – Bromley
Average house price: £460,361
Average rent: £1,352 pcm
Bromley is the biggest of all London boroughs, and one of the cheapest areas to buy and rent, compared to the capital overall. It claims last spot on this list but its house prices are still remarkably lower than other parts of London e.g. Kensington & Chelsea, which sits at a staggering £1,288,641!
While it has no underground station, Bromley is well-connected by trains, including express services; London Victoria to Bromley South takes only 16 minutes. There’s also a network of buses that runs throughout the borough.
11 – Lewisham
Average house price: £447,783
Average rent: £1,313 pcm
Many young professionals choose to live in Lewisham thanks to its excellent transport links, including the DLR. It may not have the best reputation for crime, but there are plenty of things to do, from pop-up eateries to bars. It’s also popular with families, with many choosing to settle in the area.
10 – Redbridge
Average house price: £445,546
Average rent: £1,328 pcm
The Redbridge borough is located in East London, home to Newbury Park and some great transport links to the centre. For example, there are around six trains to Liverpool Street every hour. It’s one of the best places to buy in London in terms of comparatively low house prices, making it particularly popular with first-time buyers.
9 – Hillingdon
Average house price: £419,504
Average rent: £1,287 pcm
Whether you’re looking to buy or rent, you’ll find it easier to do in Hillingdon than other parts of London, particularly those north of the river. Property in London isn’t cheap, but Hillingdon is more affordable than others, sandwiched in between Uxbridge and Hayes. It also sits on both the Metropolitan and Piccadilly lines, which is good news for commuters.
8 – Enfield
Average house price: £415,126
Average rent: £1,533 pcm
While rents are slightly pricier than other boroughs on this list, Enfield’s house prices are significantly lower than many areas of London. It appeals to many as it has plenty of green spaces, and the charm of small town life, together with some excellent transport links. For example, you can get to Liverpool Street and Moorgate in just over half an hour.
7 – Greenwich
Average house price: £407,938
Average rent: £1,558 pcm
Home to a number of tourist attractions, including Greenwich Park and the Royal Observatory, Greenwich attracts young professionals and families alike. Its transport connections include the DLR and National Rail, as well as a wide array of buses.
6 – Sutton
Average house price: £398,639
Average rent: £1,216 pcm
Plenty of green spaces and rail connections that run to London Victoria, London Bridge, St Pancras and Clapham Junction make Sutton a popular location for those looking for the best of both worlds. It’s hugely popular with families due to the excellent array of local schools.
5 – Croydon
Average house price: £383,293
Average rent: £1,142 pcm
Croydon has a great alternative and arts scene, and is becoming increasingly popular with those looking to escape the high house prices of central London. There are many parts of Croydon to choose from, including Caterham and Purley, each offering their own charms. The Brighton Mainline rail links Croydon with Central London, as well as other parts of the UK like Sussex. The borough also has a network of trams.
4 – Newham
Average house price: £382,752
Average rent: £1,419 pcm
Newham is among the least safe boroughs in London, however, that doesn’t paint the full picture. It’s also home to the ExCel Centre, Westfield shopping centre and East Village, a new neighbourhood that served as the athletes’ village during the 2012 Olympics. Its transport connections are good, including the DLR, and you’ll find London City Airport there too!
3 – Havering
Average house price: £382,490
Average rent: £1,150 pcm
Entering the top 3 now we have Havering. Havering is the most easterly London borough, just before Essex, popular with those looking for an easy commute and more affordable property prices. Havering will likely increase even further in the future, as the long-awaited Elizabeth Line is due to arrive. Many are looking to move there in anticipation of Crossrail, so house and rent prices will likely increase. From one bedroom flats to period properties, there are many different types of property on offer in the area.
2 – Bexley
Average house price: £354,466
Average rent: £1,326 pcm
Just missing out on the top spot is Bexley, which can be found in south-east London, with main areas including Bexleyheath and Sidcup. Dartford can be found on one side and Bromley on the other. It doesn’t have the underground, but there are plenty of trains and buses servicing London. Danson Park in Welling is one of the main attractions.
1- Barking and Dagenham
Average house price: £317,947
Average rent: £1,366 pcm
Claiming top spot is Barking and Dagenham, which has the most affordable house prices on this list, despite a 6.1% annual increase in 2020. It doesn’t have the cheapest rent prices here, however, by London standards it fairs quite well. Barking underground station offers the Hammersmith and City and District Lines, and the area is also home to TFL rail. It’s easy to see why many choose to settle there for affordable house prices and good connections.
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