With the cost of living crisis biting deep, finding affordable rental options is more important in the capital than ever. We take a look at the ten cheapest places to live in London. This is based on average (median) rental prices for 2-bedroom properties across all 32 London boroughs, using the latest statistics available from the Valuation Office Agency at the time of writing (March 2023).
HomeViews collects thousands of verified resident reviews for new developments across London and UK, and value for money is a key factor in how happy they are with their homes. Read on to discover the London boroughs with the lowest property prices and read reviews of homes in those areas.
London living costsThere are, of course, plenty of factors you’ll need to consider when figuring out what parts of London really offer value for money. Living costs like food prices, transport costs and council tax rates will have a big effect on how affordable certain areas are.
However, the following list will give you a good idea of where to look to find the cheapest places you can live in London. We’ll show you the ten cheapest London boroughs, then keep scrolling for links to some of the best value London apartments on HomeViews!
The following list is based on ONS statistics on England’s private rental market, with data collected between October 2021 and September 2022.
The ten cheapest places to live in London1: HaveringAverage rent: £1,200 pcm The cheapest place to live in London in early 2023 is Havering, with an average rent of £1,200 pcm. Havering has a lower population density than most London boroughs, giving it the extra appeal of plenty of open green spaces. Sitting at the far eastern edge of Greater London, Havering is still connected to the District line, Overground and C2C services at Upminster station. Romford, Gidea Park and Harold Wood stations will also benefit from increased services once Crossrail fully opens.
2: BexleyAverage rent: £1,225 pcm Bexley takes second place on our list of the cheapest London boroughs, with an average rent of £1,225 pcm. Sitting between Dartford to the east and Greenwich to the west, Bexley offers Londoners good value homes in areas such as Bexleyheath, Sidcup, Erith and Crayford. Transport connections come in the form of rail services on the North Kent, Bexleyheath and Dartford Loop lines. Crossrail is also set to provide a major boost, with a terminal at nearby Abbey Wood station.
3: SuttonAverage rent: £1,250 pcm Sutton takes joint 3rd-4th place on our list of budget places to live in the capital. Average rents of £1,250 pcm and plenty of green spaces make this a highly attractive area for young parents working in central London. In addition, schools are excellent – Sutton achieves the best GCSE results of all London boroughs – and crime rates are also low. Rail connections from the borough run through to London Victoria, London Bridge, St Pancras and Clapham Junction.
4: CroydonAverage rent: £1,250 pcm Another £1250 pcm entry is Croydon. Massive regeneration has provided this southerly borough with a new lease of life in recent years, but (clearly) rents remain manageable here. Trains from East Croydon station into London Victoria can take as little as 15 minutes, making it a very easy commuter option. As well as the urban area of Croydon, the wider borough includes areas such as Purley, South Norwood, Coulsdon and Norbury.
5: Barking & DagenhamAverage rent: £1,275 pcm It’s a two-way tie for the middle spots of 5th and 6th place! Just to the west of Havering lies Barking & Dagenham which offers average rents of £1,275 pcm and regular services on the Hammersmith & City and District lines, as well as National Rail services into Fenchurch Street. As with many of its neighbouring boroughs, Barking & Dagenham will also benefit from the completion of the Elizabeth Line, with a connection at Chadwell Heath station.
6: HillingdonAverage rent: £1,275 pcm We head over to the far west now, to the borough of Hillingdon. It’s the second-largest London borough by area, also with an average rent of £1,275 pcm. Heathrow Airport is a major employer in the borough, and the presence of Brunel University also provides a significant boost to the local economy.
7: RedbridgeAverage rent: £1,300 pcm In 7th, Redbridge sits in the northeast corner of Greater London. Ilford is the main municipal centre of the borough, with Wanstead and Woodford being the other key settlements. Currently running as TfL Rail but soon to be renamed as part of the Elizabeth Line, services from Ilford, Seven Kings, Goodmayes and Chadwell Heath stations complement extensive Central line services on the Epping Branch and Hainault Loop.
8: BromleyAverage rent: £1,350 pcm Bromley is joined with Enfield for 8th/9th place. It sits in the far southeastern corner of Greater London. Still offering good value accommodation with an average rent of £1,350 pcm, Bromley is also the largest of all the London boroughs. Bromley has no London Underground stations within its borders but is well served by the Overground, as well as Thameslink, Southeastern and Southern rail services.
9: EnfieldAverage rent: £1,350 pcm In penultimate place on our list of London’s cheapest places to live is Enfield. Its low average rent of £1,350 pcm makes it a popular choice for young professionals and families looking for good value for money. Enfield is well served by public transport access as well as good road links to Greater London and beyond. Thanks to its ongoing regeneration efforts, Enfield is also becoming a place of new opportunities and a magnet for private investment.
10: Waltham ForestAverage rent: £1,400 pcm Last but still within the ‘least’ expensive of the London rental areas, Epping Forest is the main surviving remnant of the original Waltham Forest that gives this borough its name. It extends from Chingford in the north down through Walthamstow to Leytonstone in the south. The borough is particularly well served by London Underground services, with Central and Victoria lines running through its south and middle respectively. London Overground services also serve the borough on the Gospel Oak to Barking line.
Living in london in 2023Life in London is notoriously expensive. Between October 2021 and September 2022, London had the highest median monthly rent nationwide at £1,475. This is nearly double that of England overall, which was £800. In more real terms, this was £525 higher than the next largest median rent for a region, which was £950, in the South East.
When you consider the average rental rates of Inner London, the picture is even worse. On average, you can expect to pay £1700 per month to rent in Inner London in 2023. Outer London is slightly more manageable at £1350 per month.
Wherever you want to live in the capital, expect a hefty monthly outgoing for rented accommodation. The latest figures from PwC indicate that London tenants aged 22 – 29 spend on average 53% of their income on private rents. The usual benchmark for rents to be considered affordable is just 30% of gross annual income. This means that finding the best value homes in London is crucial if you want to be able to live there long-term.
We’re using rental prices as a guide to the cheapest places to live in London. Why? Firstly, because rent is by far the largest expense that you’ll have to budget for when living in London. Secondly, the data available for rental prices is much more consistent and regularly updated than stats around other living costs.
What is affordable rent in London?What counts as affordable rent in London depends on your personal budgeting, salary and expectations. While the London-wider median rental average is £1450, it’s possible to find significantly cheaper rates if you’re willing to be flexible. For example, decent-sized studios and one-bedroom properties across Outer London and some Inner London boroughs are routinely marketed at around £1,000 per month or less.
How much is the cheapest flat in London?In 2022, the cheapest flat for sale in London was on offer for just £20,000. It was a very run-down, one-bed apartment in Leyton, East London.
However, despite the bargain basement price, there was a big catch. It only had 12 months left on its 60-year lease agreement. As our guide to freehold vs leasehold explains, renewing a lease can cost tens of thousands of pounds.
How can I live cheap in London?Living cheaply in London is not easy, but it can be done. Some basic tips for making savings in the big city include the following:
Share rent with as many people as you can comfortably live with. This will reduce your biggest single monthly outgoing.Reduce your transport/commuting costs by walking or cycling as often as possible. London’s cycling paths and walkways are enjoying lots of investment, so check out any improvements in your area.Take advantage of the many excellent cultural and entertainment options that London offers for free. Many of the capital’s best museums, art galleries, parks and historic attractions have free entry policies.If you want a more comprehensive guide to the costs of living in London, check out our full FAQ.
Great value London homes available to rentSouth London (from £870 pcm – click below to see apartments)
Long-term letting scheme The Quarters Croydon offers residents a stylish and convenient base in this thriving South London suburb. There are 151 high-specification studios at the development, with Croydon station only a 4-minute walk away. Trains reach London Bridge in just 14 minutes, while Gatwick Airport is also easily accessible. Read reviews and details of The Quarters Croydon, CR0
East London (from £1,100 pcm – click below to see apartments)
Located on the banks of the canal by Victoria Park, Gunmakers is a residential development by A2Dominion Rental Only. It features a range of family homes as well as a mix of studios, one, two and three-bedroom apartments. The development is only moments away from Victoria Park and only a 20-minute walk away from Hackney […] Read reviews and details of Gunmakers by A2Dominion Rental Only, E3
North London (from £1,350 pcm – click below to see apartments)
Fellows Square offers a selection of one and two-bedroom apartments in Brent Cross Cricklewood. Cricklewood Station for Underground and Rail services is close by to the development. Trains to St Pancras International take just 12-minutes. Similarly, you can reach Bond Street in 20-minutes. Read reviews and details of Fellows Square by A2Dominion Rental Only, NW2
West London (from £1,300 pcm – click below to see apartments)
be:here Hayes is a residential development comprising of 119 one, two and three-bedroom apartments. It offers commercial units including restaurants, leisure amenities and a music venue. In addition, the development is close to Hayes & Harlington station, the M4, M25 and Heathrow Airport. Read reviews and details of be:here Hayes, UB3
London’s 10 best value developments according to residentsHomeViews provides verified resident reviews of the UK’s housing developments. We’re working with developers, landlords and the Government to recognise high performers and help to improve standards in the built environment.