Renting in London is notoriously expensive, but if you shop around you can achieve some much more reasonable rents in some attractive locations with great transport links to the city centre.
People tend to hop on to sites like Rightmove (the UK’s most popular property site) and see £1,100 per month room rents, or the infamous £700 per month under-stair closet, and balk at the idea of moving to London. But properties with these price tags tend to be central, Zone 1 and new builds, whereas London, being the historical city that it is, has a wealth of renting options to choose from, ranging from gorgeous modern new build flats in bustling Stratford, to old Victorian detached houses in calm Plumstead.
Areas that you might not immediately consider, like Deptford and Walthamstow, are on the up and are being rapidly gentrified. Deptford is actually incredibly central, as it falls in Zone 2, but doesn’t have a tube station. What it does have is an incredible local market, a DLR and an overground service, and is a short walk to scenic Greenwich. The Elizabeth Line will run close to Deptford on its completion (now estimated 2021) and as such the area will become a lot more desirable. An average room in Deptford will set you back £400 per month, and is an 8 minute train ride away from London Bridge, which equates to a London bargain!
Walthamstow (which used to be part of Essex but is now in Zone 3) is an absolute gem of an area for renting. It’s at the end of the Victoria Line so has easy tube access, but it also has an overground station and any number of buses heading out to Ilford and Essex. Walthamstow has a famed Sunday market, the William Morris Gallery, God’s Own Junkyard, Mother’s Ruin Gin Bar and any number of eclectic local restaurants and bakeries. It’s 25 minutes into central London on the Victoria Line and you’re always guaranteed a seat as it’s the final stop! You can rent a one bed apartment in Walthamstow for as little as £950, which compared to those Zone 1 prices is a steal.
Take a look at areas like Croydon, Deptford, Barking, Leyton and Walthamstow if you’re considering buying. Properties are cheaper as you head East or South, whereas properties in the North and West of London are much more expensive.
Government schemes like the Help To Buy can assist you with your first time purchase, if you have already signed up (applications closed in November 2019, but you will be able to continue saving into your account until November 2029). With this scheme, when you save up for your deposit, the Government will boost your savings by a whopping 25% when you go to buy a property.
Manage your expectations and consider what type of property you would like to buy – the four bedroom detached house might be the dream, but London works a little differently. Look at new build flats with lifts and patios, or even old Victorian semis; the price difference will astound you.
As renting is money you just won’t get back every month, and it’s difficult to buy outright in London, many young professionals are keen to pursue shared ownership houses in the capital. The Shared Ownership Scheme allows you to buy a share of your home, between 25% and 75%, and then pay rent on the rest. As you save you can then upgrade to bigger shares of your property. In London, this option is applicable to anyone with a household income of less than £90,000, so is a viable alternative to renting continuously.
It may also be worth looking on the commuter belt for your property. Homes in London are so expensive that it might work out cheaper for you to purchase a property within commutable distance and pay for an annual season ticket. Cities like Woking, Winchester and Southampton are all less than 90 minutes away from Waterloo and homes are considerably cheaper, both to buy and rent.
Finally, should you have any property or land elsewhere, consider selling to contribute towards your London living lifestyle. Companies like Property Escape will purchase any land or building, no matter the leasehold, condition or tenancy situation, meaning that you will get a guaranteed cash offer for anything you’re looking to sell, without having to go through the hassle of estate agents, doing repairs on the property, or negotiating tenancies.
Recommended Estate Agents in London
London is a very large city and as such has any number of Estate Agents ready and waiting to help you sell or buy, all with different advantages and specialities.
If speed is of the essence, for example you’ve inherited a property that you have no use for, or you’re keen to move abroad, consider utilising Property Escape, who operate throughout the UK and will happily provide a cash offer on any property, whether in London or elsewhere in England or Wales. The turnaround is extremely quick, with an offer being made within 24 hours of submitting a property review, and most payments arriving in your bank account within 14 days of accepting the offer. Give them a call on 0203 916 5960 or visit their website PropertyEscape.co.uk.
If you have the luxury of a bit more time, and would prefer a face to face discussion and transaction, take a look at Independent London. They operate selling, buying, managing and developing properties across the capital, operating from a head office in London Bridge. Whether you’re a landlord or a letter, they offer exceptional customer service and believe firmly in the merging of traditional methods and new innovative technology. The team are hugely empathetic to first time buyers and are passionate about making the purchase as simple and hassle free as possible. Call Independent London on 020 7099 6373, visit their website www.IndependentLondon.co.uk or find their offices at:
- Studio 2, 197 Long Lane, London, SE1 4PD
John D Wood & Co focus on properties to buy and rent in the South of England and specialise in London properties. Their main offices are based in scenic Kensington, and as such properties in Kensington, Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham are at their fingertips. The company is hugely well established, with over 145 years of experience in the area. Founded in 1872 in affluent Mayfair, John D Wood & Co now has 20 offices and over 120 associates throughout London and the South of England. Interestingly, the company was the first estate agent to create a computer network, so they will always be at the forefront of new technology and online customer service. Contact them on 020 8012 176, visit their site www.JohnDWood.co.uk or find their office at:
- 162 Kensington Church Street, London, W8 4BN
If you have a higher budget and you’re on the hunt for something a bit special, for exceptionally designed properties, take a look at Domus Nova, a London-based estate agency specialising in selling beautifully designed homes, featuring architects’ work and stunning interior design. Offices can be found in Notting Hill and Bayswater, and Domus Nova deals with rentals, sales and property management. The company has achieved the best of Houzz award three times (2016, 2017 and 2020) and offers exceptional customer service. Contact them on 020 3984 7791, visit their website DomusNova.com or find their main office at:
- 78 Westbourne Grove, London, W2 5RT
London is extremely multi-cultural and some estate agents appreciate that English may not be your first language, and certainly may not be your preferred language for transactions. Should you be looking to operate in a different language, Knight Frank are one of the oldest agencies in England, with offices throughout the UK and expanding into the rest of the world, with a whopping 370 sites. They use a multilingual global search which allows viewers to see properties in over 24 languages, including Russian and Mandarin. Contact them on 020 8012 4123, visit their website www.KnightFrank.co.uk or find them at either of the following London based offices:
- 47 Lower Belgrave Street, Belgravia, London, SW1W 0LS
- 33 Gutter Lane, London, EC2V 8AS
- 120A Mount Street, Mayfair, London, W1K 3NN