London’s best deals for renters: the most affordable postcodes in the capital

Where should you look for a home to avoid losing half your pay to rent? Our essential guide highlights London's most affordable postcodes.
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Generation Rent: The areas offering the best rental deals in and around London

Rents in London rose by an inflation-busting 9.4 per cent in the year to April, to an average £1,348 a month. Tenants spend up to 57 per cent of their take-home pay on rent, making it almost impossible to save for a deposit to buy a home.

To offer some hope to Generation Rent, Homes & Property today reveals its new research, commissioned from online property website Zoopla, pinpointing areas with the best rental deals.

Budget: less than £1,000 a month
Best option: SE2

This postcode, including Abbey Wood, West Heath and Crossness in south-east London, is the only one in the capital where the average calendar month’s rent costs less than four figures, coming in at £979.
This is a mixed area of Victorian and Edwardian period conversion flats, ex-local authority blocks and modern apartments. Trains from Abbey Wood Overground station to Charing Cross take 36 minutes, and you could be at London Bridge in just under half an hour. An annual season ticket costs £1,800.
Crossrail will improve the transport situation from 2018 with faster links to the City, the West End and Heathrow — giving this dull area a bit of a regeneration polish. Café culture has not yet reached SE2 and there is no nightlife on the doorstep. There are local parks, however, and some are having a makeover, notably Abbey Woods.
Budget: £1,000 to £1,300 a month
Best option: E17

For a bit more money a month the picture widens considerably, with a choice of 30 postcode areas within your budget. Pick of the bunch is E17, aka Walthamstow, with rents of £1,191. This area is gentrifying at a rate of knots. You might not be able to afford to live in Walthamstow Village, but it’s your local port of call for cafés and for retail therapy at the retro furniture and fashion shops.
The award-winning William Morris Gallery is a marvel, and the local council plans to transform a network of reservoirs into landscaped waterways. Walthamstow’s former greyhound racing stadium is to become upmarket flats, and the Zone 3 Tube station is served by the Victoria line.
GOOD ALTERNATIVES: the only part of west London within budget is W7, and Hanwell, with rents of £1,282, has a London village feel about it, with fairtrade coffee shops, delis and an eclectic range of restaurants. Trains to Paddington take 15 minutes, and an annual season ticket costs £1,800.
Aficionados of south-east London should look at SE12, with rents of £1,111. The prize location here is Lee Manor, an increasingly popular choice for young renters thanks to its value for money and train links to London Bridge in 13 minutes.
Lee Manor also has in its favour Manor House Gardens, a Victorian park with a lake and tennis courts, which is the location of a weekly farmers’ market.
The Lord Northbrook pub in Burnt Ash Road has been converted into a popular gastropub. Local shops are not fabulous, but Blackheath is a walk away.

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