Where can you rent in London?

Depending on the area you choose to live renting in London can often be expensive. This is rarely a shock to anyone, even if they’ve never set foot in the capital. 

Not that this is in any way deterring people from living in London – it is, after all, an amazing city. On the contrary, last year saw an increase of 247,000 renter households. So where do these renters all afford to live?

The answer to this question is anything but simple, after all rental values across the city vary considerably. A good rule of thumb is that the closer you get to central London and the more desirable parts of inner London, the more expensive it will be. Conversely, the further you move away from these areas, the cheaper it gets. However, as always, there are exceptions to this rule with some parts of outer London (Richmond, for example) attracting values similar to those found in the centre. Additionally, new build properties are more expensive (on average about 40% more expensive).

Inner London rents currently average at £2,480pcm for a two bedroom property, with the most expensive area, both in inner London and the city overall, being SW1X in Westminster - here rents average £5,850pcm. This prestigious postcode, which borders Buckingham Palace and incorporates Knightsbridge, accommodates rental properties at the extreme end of the spectrum with a 5 bedroom apartment at the exclusive One Hyde Park development asking £45,000pw (£195,000pcm). On the other side of the scale sits the most affordable area in inner London, Abbey Wood (SE2), with average rents of £950pcm.

In contrast, rents across outer London average out at £1,270 pcm, a discount of almost 50% to inner London. Of the outer London boroughs the most expensive areas are:

  • Barnes (SW13) in Richmond upon Thames, with rents averaging £2,150pcm.
  • Chiswick (W4) at £2,060pcm
  • Brentford (TW8) at £1,795pcm

However, outer London also hosts the most affordable area of DA16, which incorporates the areas of Falconwood and Welling in Bexley. Rents here average £850pcm.

So how much do you need to earn to afford to live in London?  In order to rent a 2 bed property in inner London it would be necessary to have a household salary of £99,400 pa. In Westminster it would be necessary for a household to earn £146,640 in order to afford the average rent of £3,666pcm. But even within inner London there are pockets of better value rentals; take Greenwich for example.

But average earners need not despair: you really can have your pick of outer London:

  • The most affordable being Bexley – here the average rent of £974pcm requires a combined salary of only £38,950 per annum.
  • Ealing, on the other hand, is the least affordable with a salary of just under £60,000 needed to afford rents of £1,460pcm.
  • Within Ealing the east of the borough, in areas like Acton and Ealing Broadway attract the highest rents at £1,650pcm; 28% higher than in the west of the borough which incorporates Southall and Greenford

But whichever way you look at it, regardless of budget, it does appear that rentals in London (despite being notoriously expensive by national standards) are still somewhat manageable.