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Where to ‘affordable’ live in London

by Rebecca Hilliard

Any excitement caused by finding you’re moving to London can easily be dampened when you find out it’s now the world’s second most expensive city in which to rent a home. With an average rental price of just over £5600, even Paris, Tokyo, New York and Hong Kong are starting to look ‘cheap’ by comparison. But, forget the comparisons. You’re in London now and you need to get searching. If you’re relatively flexible in location, a quick check of an ‘indexing’ site such as London Property Watch can give you an instant idea of price by area. And, for those who have become aware of the house price boom that London is currently experiencing, it’s worth noting that there is little or no correlation between rising house prices and rental prices – for instance, Hammersmith and Fulham (W6 and SW6 areas) saw some of London’s highest price rises last year – more than 20% – while rents only increased a few percent (for anyone considering buying a property to let out when they move on, this ‘lack of correlation’ is particularly important to note).

Obviously, being close to major facilities, especially tube stations, will command a premium and if you don’t need them then looking further afield can result in significant savings. Londoners’ obsession with postcodes can also be good news for the savvy renter: just one street away from your chosen postcode can also produce a beneficial price difference (select the ‘within x miles’ option found on most listing sites such as Rightmove, or Home).

High rental prices and an increasingly mobile global workforce has prompted major growth in room-rental within shared housing. While this won’t appeal to many, don’t dismiss the concept for those who are either commuting to London or here on a short term assignment and who don’t want the hassle that goes with renting a flat or house.
High quality en-suite bedrooms in houses and apartments with shared kitchen and living rooms, aimed at single professionals, are now popping up all over London (see SpareRoom and In To London and select ‘en-suite’ in advanced searches). Not only can the rental prices be considerably lower than even a studio apartment, things such as energy, TV licence, broadband and council tax are normally included. This not only means fewer hidden/extra costs but also less work in signing up with several different providers – which, for people coming in to the UK without any credit history in the country, can be an ordeal in itself.

But, wherever and whatever you rent, make sure you stay informed of your rights and your landlord’s obligations (NLA, RLA) and so you can sit back and really enjoy living in London!

Rebecca Hilliard is a Property Investor and Landlord operating in both UK and NL – helping home-owners sell their properties fast and investors to make great returns.

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