If you’re considering moving to London, you’ll already know that the cost of renting is high, compared to the rest of the UK – and indeed most of the cities in the world. Yet the nine million people that reside in this rich, vibrant city believe that the myriad benefits of living in the UK’s capital are more than worth paying a little more for.
In order to get good value for money on rent in London, it’s essential that you become an expert at deducing how much you should be paying for a property before signing on that dotted line. With this in mind, in this guide we’ll break down the average cost of renting in London, looking at different apartment sizes and areas. Read on and avoid getting ripped off.
Renting an apartment in London
It’s no secret that the UK’s capital is a pricey place to live. How much it costs to rent an apartment in London soars above other cities in the UK, with costs more comparable to other world class cities. Indeed, according to research from Savills, London has the fifth most expensive mainstream rental market in the world, with only San Francisco, Dublin, New York, and Los Angeles beating it. Furthermore, in terms of luxury residential lets, London is the third most expensive place to rent, with New York and Tokyo in first and second place.
So why do professionals continue to flock to the city? The cost of living in London might be higher than elsewhere, but so are the wages – and in the UK’s capital, job opportunities abound. This is before considering the sky-high cost of commuting into London from outside the city, as well as the easy access to world-class attractions, culture, and nightlife you gain by living there.
The cost of renting an apartment in London
As we’ve covered above, renting in London can be pricey, so it’s essential you know what to expect. If you’ve not done your research on the average cost of renting a flat in London, it will be hard to know whether the prices attached to properties you’re interested in are good value, or if you’re getting ripped off.
With this in mind, it’s time to give you some hard stats.
The Office for National Statistics reports that the average price of renting a studio in London is £989 per month. One bedroom apartments in London cost an average £1,293 in monthly rent, while two-bed apartments will set you back £1,612 per month, and those with three-beds cost an average of £1,949 per month. However, it’s important to bear in mind that this covers all of London; it takes into account apartments in less desirable areas on the outskirts of the capital as well as the luxe properties perched on the iconic city centre skyline.
With that in mind, let’s break the figures down by borough. This should give you a better idea of how much you can expect to pay to live in some of the capital’s most aspirational and popular areas.
The Westminster borough contains Pimlico – the home of Dolphin Square – as well as the Houses of Parliament, Downing Street, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, and Whitehall. As you can see, this famous borough is home to so many of the attractions that make London London, and it provides a convenient home to numerous politicians and civil servants who work in the district. A studio flat in Westminster goes for an average £1,469 per month, while the mean rate for a one-bedroom apartment is £2,105. Upgrade to a two– or three-bedroom apartment and you’re looking at monthly rents of £3,020 and £4,790, respectively.
The cost of renting in the City of London – home to myriad bankers and finance professionals – is pretty steep, as you would expect. A studio comes in at a monthly average of £1,599, while a one-bed costs £1,952 per month, and two bedrooms comes in at £2,745. Kensington and Chelsea is a famously affluent borough within walking distance of Pimlico. Here you’ll find studio apartments cost a mean £1,387 per month, one-bedroomed accommodation comes in at an average £2,037 per month, two beds will set you back £3,204, and three beds £4,738.
While the boroughs above are chosen for their proximity to central London, their myriad attractions, and the upscale lifestyle they facilitate, the ones below are popular for their youth culture, alternative lifestyles, and colourful nightlife. Lambeth is a part of inner city London where rents are slightly cheaper. This culturally-rich borough stretches from the River Thames to Streatham and contains the nightlife of Vauxhall and Brixton, as well as leafy suburbs like West Norwood. The average studio apartment here costs £1,012 per month to rent, with one-beds coming in at £1,415, two-beds £1,660, and three-beds £2,225.
A studio in Camden – a long-time favourite borough amongst artists and the alternative – costs an average £1,158 per month to rent. Opt for a one bedroom apartment here and you can expect to splash £1,808 on rent per month. Two-beds cost a mean £2,325, while three-beds will set you back £3,073 a month on average. Alternatively, join the young scenesters of Hackney, where a studio apartment is priced at an average of £1,192 per month, a one-bed costs £1,477, two-beds £1,791, and three-beds £2,507.
Dolphin Square’s competitively-priced luxury apartments are situated amongst the white stucco terraces of upmarket Pimlico, in the central borough of Westminster. Here, you can get studio apartments from £310 per week, although you can opt to pay more for lux options. Our elegant one-bed apartments start at £350 per week, and our spacious two-beds £450 per week. If you’re moving with a family, or sharing with other professionals, consider opting for a three-bed apartment, which can be yours from £715 per week.
Renting an apartment: Top tips
Of course, finding your dream apartment in a city as huge and as popular as London isn’t always straightforward. Even the most seasoned renters can find this a daunting task. Here are our top tips to help you out:
1. Researching current rental values in postcodes that interest you
There are a lot of stats and figures that can help you figure out the value of a specific apartment in a particular postcode. Look at the size of the property, its features (for example does it have a balcony), and the features of the building. Consider the area too – is it near bar, restaurants, amenities, and public transport links? If so, this makes the property higher value. Doing your research before viewings will help you know when to negotiate, when to turn away – and when you’re getting a bargain.
2. Factoring in the possibility of a future rent increases
If you’re about to sign on the dotted line for an apartment, cast a magnifying glass over your contract. Is the rent fixed for the duration of the contract? Or is there the possibility the landlord will hike rent during your tenancy? How long do you want to stay at the property, and does this time exceed the length of your current contract?
It’s vital to work out whether future rent increases could be a possibility during your tenancy so you’re not caught unaware. If you’re already at budget for accommodation, would there be enough left in the bank to survive a rental increase without severely denting your quality of life? If in doubt, question the landlord or agent, and ask for a clause about fixed rent to be inserted into the contract, if it’s not already there.
3. Remember that London’s rental market is fast-moving
What makes renting in London so much more stressful than finding a place elsewhere in the UK? Aside from the higher costs involved, this is largely down to the competitiveness and fast-moving nature of the market. When you’re apartment hunting in London, you’re up against lots of other people looking for the exact same thing as you. This means that renters feel the pressure to conduct viewings more quickly and sign tenancy agreements before others do.
It’s important to remember this. If you find your dream flat that fulfils all your criteria, you might not have the luxury of a few days to mull the decision over, as you would elsewhere. So be prepared to put a holding deposit down when you attend viewings, and to make decisions quickly.
So there you have it. Renting in London is competitive, and it costs more than renting elsewhere in the UK. But once you’re moved into your dream apartment, the stress is more than worth it. Just remember to do your research on rental rates in different postcodes, and of the specific sort of apartment you want – factoring in size, features, amenities, and areas – and you’ll be well placed to get value for your money.
Click here to find out more about living in leafy Pimlico, nestled in the Westminster borough in the much-sought-after centre of London. If you like the look of Dolphin Square, you can book a viewing here.