Along with New York and Paris, London is routinely billed as one of the top three cities to visit in the world - and it just so happens to be one of the most desired places for people to call “home”.
However, with demand, comes increased costs. The capital isn’t the cheapest of places when it comes to everyday living. But there are ways in which Londoners can budget accordingly without having to break the bank, borrow a small fortune on top of that, and then break the bank again.
Here at Movebubble, we’re always on a quest to help renters save money. Whether, it’s finding a great rental deal or saving on moving costs, there are plenty of ways to salvage a pound here and there when renting in London.
Not only will this guide provide you with a fair indication of rental prices in London it will also cover what you can expect to pay in everyday living costs. So, read on and find out how much it costs to really live in London.
Check out our video on How much does it cost to live in London ->
First thing’s first: let’s look at how much you could pay per month to rent a home. There is a large variety of areas in London (32 boroughs altogether and 124 postcode areas), all of which can be found in north, west, south and east London.
Postcodes in areas like South Kensington, Hampstead, Mayfair and Chelsea are prime real estate and fetch some of the highest rental prices in the UK, let alone London, with rents averaging £2,500 to £3,500 per month for a one-bedroom flat.
If you don’t fancy dropping £2k-plus every month, there are plenty of other options. On the more affordable end of the scale, it’s possible to find a one-bed apartment for around £1,000 in other areas of the capital. Two beds can often be found for around £1,400 on the cheaper end of the scale too.
Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect to pay, on average, in London.
Getting around doesn’t take too much effort, no matter which London postcode you decide to call home. Whether it’s the tube, bus, DLR, train or even by boat, the capital has a plethora of travel options. Some areas are better connected than others (usually those closer to central London), but there is always a decent level of public transport available.
We recommend getting an Oyster card, which will give you the flexibility to travel around the city reasonably freely. London is broken up into separate 6 travel zones, with Oysters increasing in price as each zone moves up a number.
How much you pay depends on the zones you frequent. Zone 1 starts in Central London, with zone numbers increasing the further out of the centre you head. Prices rise slightly at the beginning of each year. As of 2019, monthly Oyster costs are as follows:
Weekly Travelcards 2019 weekly and monthly
Zones 1–2 £35.10 £134.89
Zones 1–3 £41.20 £158.30
Zones 1–4 £50.50 £194.00
Zones 1–5 £60.00 £230.40
Zones 1–6 £64.20 £246.60
Zones 1–7 £69.80 £268.10
Zones 1–8 £82.50 £316.80
Zones 1–9 £91.50 £351.40
Some people may travel between Zone 2-3 or 5 and 6, so prices vary. But the above gives a good indication of what you can expect to pay. For a full breakdown, check out travelcards website.
There is, of course, private transport, which comes in the form of London’s famous black taxis and Uber. Uber charges £1.25 per mile, while a six to 13-minute journey in a black taxi is between £6-10.
You could live in London for 50 years and still not come close to tasting all of the culinary delights on offer. Whether you’re eating out or buying groceries, the choice of cuisines is endless. For those who enjoy cooking at home, chain supermarkets such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s, ASDA and Waitrose can be found in pretty much every area of London. Prices vary, but the average cost of a weekly shop for two is around £80 to £100 and includes toiletries and basic laundry.
Eating out varies. London has plenty of cheap eats as well as a selection of upmarket restaurants. For something on the fancy side of things, expect pay from around £50 per person. However, London’s diverse restaurant scene means that you can eat out and enjoy authentic dishes for much cheaper (£15 per head).
Bills, bills, bills. Unfortunately, they’re unavoidable. But you can prepare for what the amounts you need to pay each month when living in London. The principal utilities include council tax, gas and electric bills, TV license, water bill, and broadband internet.
There is no set price, with many of the figures relating to the size of the property (or the speed of the broadband). However, according to moneyadviceservice, the following is the most accepted breakdown of monthly utility costs:
Gas and electricity: the cheapest dual fuel tariff on the market is around £350 per year, though prices obviously depend on the property size.
Water bill: Expect to pay between £30 and £35 a month
Broadband: A decent speed internet connection costs around £16 per month
Council tax: The price you pay for council tax varies depending on the borough where you live and the council tax band your property falls under.
TV license: You will pay £11.35 per month for a TV license, though it is possible to pay for the year in one go.
Making the Most of Living in London
Living in London may be more expensive than other areas in the UK, but it’s not even in the the top 10 for most expensive in the world. Living in the capital certainly doesn’t have to break the bank. With an idea of what you might need to pay monthly, new renters can prepare in advance and budget accordingly. Do that, and the only surprises you’ll need to experience are all of the great hidden gems the city has to offer.