Rents in the capital have risen strongly in recent years and now stand at an average £1,118 a month, up six per cent in a year, according to LSL Property Services.
James Wright, 25, lives in Clapton, east London because his friends live there and it is (relatively) affordable. He and his boyfriend share a two-bedroom flat with a flatmate and the three each pay £433 a month.
Clapton attracts renters priced out of more central parts of Hackney. “We only moved here in March but I’ve been noticing new pubs opening and trendy hairdressers popping up,” said James, a senior account executive at a public relations company. “Our rent hasn’t gone up yet but I can imagine that it will, in which case we’ll have to move.”
When that day comes, the couple will have to do some careful research. James can cycle to work from Clapton, saving £116.80 a month on fares.
Chasing a cheaper rent
A good rent is a combination of an affordable rent and a cheap commute. So where could they move to? Here are some suggestions.
Alexandra Park, Haringey
Carla Ingram, lettings manager at Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward, suggests Alexandra Park, less than two miles from desirable Muswell Hill. Admittedly it is not as blessed with smart shops as its neighbour but it has the eponymous park, with Alexandra Palace at its heart, plus arguably better transport links from Bounds Green or Wood Green stations (Zone 3).
Property: Victorian, and Ingram estimates a two-bedroom flat would cost from around £300 a week, compared to £350 in Muswell Hill.
The cheapest London borough is Bexley, with average rents of £864 a month for a two-bedroom flat. But add in a £213.60 travel card and the location, plus the long commute, starts looking less of a great deal.
Stratford, east London
Ed Phillips, director of lettings at Foxtons, says James should analyse the market. In an area where there is loads of renting property there is more choice. Over the next year in Stratford thousands of rental flats will come on stream. At present a two-bedroom property would cost from £275 a week, says Phillips, compared to £375 plus in Canary Wharf, around a mile away. As new homes become available in Stratford supply may even start to outstrip demand, bringing prices down.
Studying a Tube map, Phillips says most renters want to live close to Northern and Central line stations so looking elsewhere is smart — particularly in south-east London if you don’t mind using buses or the London Overground. Cycling is even better.
Wendell Park, Chiswick W12
Philip Davenport, lettings manager at John D Wood, suggests Wendell Park in west London, a mile north of Chiswick High Road and walking distance to Turnham Green station. The area is leafy with quality Victorian homes, and although amenities aren’t right on the doorstep rents are significantly cheaper than Chiswick. Davenport recently let a three-bedroom house in the area for £635 a week. In Chiswick he estimates it would have cost £850.