Living in London is a dream for many people, whether they are already UK residents or are thinking about relocating from a different country.
Of course, it takes quite a bit of money to make a home for yourself in this bustling metropolis.
Living costs in London can vary depending on what you are looking for, so we have broken down the expenses you will incur along the way to help you make your dreams a reality.
Although it’s cheaper than some cities, you will want to be well informed on the prices of basic commodities before making the big move.
That’s why we have broken down living costs in London, including basics like food and clothing as well as big ticket items like rent or a house purchase.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about the real cost of living in London.
Renting a flat in London will cost you a pretty penny.
According to the latest data from the UK government, the average flat in the city center costs £2,150 per month or more.
Living in Greater London or a nearby suburb costs significantly less, with monthly rent averaging £1,700 – £2,150.
While there are still bargains to be had, the cost of food in London is currently higher than ever before. Both Brexit and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have caused the prices of basic food items to soar throughout the UK, but especially in the capital city.
In March 2022, the Bank of England warned British citizens about an “apocalyptic” rise in food prices.
In June, the price of groceries increased by 3.1% compared to the previous month.
With the end of the war nowhere in sight and inflation continuing to rise, it’s best to budget up to £1,000 per person per month for food in London.
London’s public transportation is excellent, with a range of aboveground and underground subway lines, a robust bus network, and extensive regional rail lines.
There are also taxis for shorter trips, and the city is cyclist-friendly.
It’s easy to get almost anywhere in the city in under an hour, and you only pay for travel within your desired zones.
If you are looking to live in London, you will likely want to buy a monthly pass for your commute to work. This not only saves you money, but is more convenient than buying individual tickets.
If you are considering the costs of living in London, it’s important to budget for daycare or a child-minder. Childcare costs in London vary quite a bit based on a number of factors: where you live, how many children you have and how old they are, and how many hours of childcare you need each week.
In general, childcare costs are rising in London. The average weekly cost for one child under two is £183.56 for 25 hours a week of childcare.
If you live in Greater London rather than the city center, the price of childcare will be slightly lower.
Childcare costs also decrease as children get older.
The UK capital is undoubtedly the most expensive housing market in the country, so you may want to think twice about living in London.
Here is a look at the cost of living in London compared to several other large cities in the UK to help you get a baseline of what to expect.
Manchester is quite a bit more affordable than London. In general, you can expect to pay about 30% less to live in Manchester.
Compared to Manchester, the cost of living in London is much higher for most spending categories. Both rent and entertainment are about 35% more expensive in London.
Other basic expenses like food, transportation, and clothing are between 10 and 35% more expensive in Manchester than when living in London.
Some bargain hunters would do well to look north of London – way north! The cost of living in Glasgow, Scotland vs. London is significantly cheaper.
Glaswegians could save up to 51% above the cost of living in London, according to one recent estimate.
Specifically, housing is about 30% more expensive in London than it is in Glasgow, while transportation is 52% more expensive.
In contrast, food and clothing are only about 10% more expensive in London than they are in Glasgow.
Still, it’s hard to ignore that the cost of living in London is quite high compared to Scotland!
Once again, there are bargains to be found in Cambridge compared to the nation’s capital. The average cost of living in Cambridge, UK vs. London is about 38% less, according to the crowdsourced information on Expatica.
The cost of housing in Cambridge is about 23% lower than in London proper and restaurant prices are 13% less, making for significant savings in overall outlay.
In general, living in Cambridge is less expensive than living in London.
In general, London is the most expensive city in the UK. Expartisan estimates that a family of four would need to spend £5,542 per month on housing, food, entertainment, transportation, and other expenses.
Although it is less expensive than global cities like New York City and Zurich, living in London is fairly expensive.
In fact, it is the most expensive city in the UK and the second most expensive in Western Europe.
As you are deciding whether living in London is right for you, make a budget of your basic expenses to see what you can afford.
Don’t forget other costs like sports and leisure, clothing, and salaries you would potentially pay to domestic workers like cleaners or child-minders when you are deciding whether you can afford to live in London.
You will also want to leave some room for entertainment within the city and a summer vacation in the countryside.
If you are planning to move to London from another country, it is also important to set aside some money for visas, relocation expenses, and an emergency fund.
In many places, it is actually cheaper to own property than it is to rent a house or an apartment. Unfortunately, this is not the case in the UK capital.
Buying a house in London is not only difficult, but it is also quite expensive.
Currently, London flats sell at an average price of £664,000, according to the relocation company Right Move. This is quite steep for most digital nomads and world explorers!
The cost of living in London with rent varies from neighborhood to neighborhood, but in general it is much cheaper to rent rather than buy.
If you want to live in Central London, you can expect to pay about £2,150 in rent each month.
Alternatively, consider London’s outer boroughs or a suburb. You will pay quite a bit less, as monthly rent averages £1,700 to £2,150.
Another option is renting a full-service furnished apartment in London from a company like Blueground.
The advantage of this approach is a flexible lease, which lets you come and go as you please. It is also helpful to save on the costs of furniture, kitchen items, and linens, which you would need to purchase yourself if you leased an empty flat.
In general, utility costs in London are higher than in the rest of the UK and Western Europe. You will likely need to pay for electricity, gas, Internet, and water.
The cost of your utilities in London will vary based on neighborhood and the size of your apartment.
According to estimates from UK-based Citrus Relocation, a London renter can expect to pay £25.00 per month for electricity in a studio or one bedroom or up to £118.00 per month for a five bedroom flat.
Gas costs between £26.50 and £115.00 per month on average, depending on the size of your apartment.
Internet costs vary depending on the speed of your connection, and you can expect to pay anywhere from £28.33 to £61.90 per month, according to the clearinghouse site USave.
Your water bill also depends on the size of your flat and how many people occupy it. Citrus Relocation estimates that renters can expect to pay £24.60 per month for water in a studio or one bedroom or up to £34.41 per month for a five bedroom flat.
The cost of living in London is quite high, but careful planning and the use of a detailed budget will help you live within your means. It’s a good idea to estimate your costs before moving to London.
Now that you have read this detailed guide you will have a better idea of how much you need to save up to make living in London a real possibility. Good luck with your upcoming move to London!