Homerton, Peckham and Finsbury Park: London renters should head to Zone 2 for top value and good transport links

First-time renters need to know where to look. Avoid central London and head for budget rental options such as Homerton, Peckham and Finsbury Park in Zone 2...
As London’s first-time tenants come into the city, they will be in for a big surprise. The annual cost of renting a two-bedroom flat in the capital is now almost £25,000 a year or £2,080 a month, twice the average found in the South-East, according to research by commercial property adviser CBRE.
At the top end, those wishing to rent in Westminster or the City will need a combined household income of just more than £140,000, while those moving to the outlying boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Bexley, and Havering will have to earn £40,000.
London’s generation rent — first timers or not — don’t want to live in the sticks. CBRE has identified some relative bargains close to Zone 2 stations.
Those on a budget can rule out popular Shoreditch and Hoxton, where rents have soared in the past five years. A compromise is Homerton, a slightly under-the-radar option between Victoria Park and Hackney Marshes.

Zone 2: take a tour of rental properties under £1,900 a month in the north, south, east and west of London...

There is no Tube, which can be a pain to some people, but Overground services get to King’s Cross in 23 minutes, and the average monthly rent is £1,707. Naysayers describe the area as dismal, but others like it because it is gritty and handy for the shops at Stratford.
Chats Palace community arts centre offers a good programme of music and exhibitions, and The Adam & Eve gastropub is popular.
Chatsworth Road, which runs towards Lower Clapton, has a great range of cafés and restaurants. “The whole dynamic of the area is changing, with a lot of artists moving in,” says Robert Alan, owner of local estate and lettings agent Robert Alan Homes. “I am a great advocate of Homerton.”
Alan estimates that a two-bedroom house in Homerton might rent for £350 to £360 per week. A similar property in Victoria Park could cost up to £475 a week, and it is this price disparity that is starting to spark interest in the area.
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£1,625 a month: a two-bedroom flat in Albany Road, N4
In south-east London, one of the most economical choices you can make is to flat-hunt around Queens Road Peckham station, where average rents stand at £1,458 a month. Again, there is no Tube, but you can get to London Bridge in about 10 minutes via the train or the Overground.
This area is attracting renters and first-time buyers from Peckham Rye due to its location at the heart of Peckham, along with some good period conversion flats.
And, of course, you can walk to Peckham Rye for dinner at Pedler or a snack and a drink at Frank’s Café.
“Queens Road is developing — there is not a huge amount there at the moment,” says Jason Davis at Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward.
“But there is an awful lot within walking distance, and we are going to see a huge amount of change in the next two or three years — a few new coffee shops have started to open already.”
£1,733 a month: a two-bedroom flat in Cresset Road, E9
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In north London, the best budget option is Finsbury Park, at an average of just more than £1,650 a month.
It has good Tube links on the Victoria and Piccadilly lines, plus there are Overground services to King’s Cross (eight minutes) or Moorgate (13 minutes).
What locals love about Finny P is its cosmopolitan feel — The Faltering Fullback pub is an institution and there is a great choice of local restaurants.
The location is handy for Islington’s Upper Street, and what Finsbury Park has that Islington lacks is open space — 115 acres of the park itself.
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