If you are going to study in London, it is natural that you worry about your budget. You’ll want to make the most of what you have. You want to find good student accommodation, but you’ll worry that you might be paying too much. Are the flats that you’re looking at above or below current market rental rates? In other words, is the student room to rent you’re interested in really cheap or stupidly expensive?Maybe you’ll find a cheap flatshare or a house of residence, and worry if the price is too good to be true. Could it be some sort of scam? Is it in a terrible neighbourhood?
We’ve all been through this. For most of our student life, we either sleep in Erasmus houses or student rooms (I lived in halls of residence for a year) – we know exactly what it’s like. Which is why we decided to collect some hard facts about what it costs students to to rent an apartment in different neighbourhoods. That way, you know what to expect, what is fair and what is not. Let’s have a look:
Like in most other cities, London rental rates go down as you get away from the city centre. So a single room in Chelsea (SW Zone 1) averages arounds £792, while one in Brixton (SW Zone 2) is closer to £490 and a room in Wimbledon (SW Zone 3) can be as cheap as £400 a month.
The Really Expensive Parts of London
As we’ve seen, the rent in central London has higher prices than greater London. West London is also more expensive than East London, and North London is more expensive than South London. So all the really, really pricy areas are around the centre of the city, and towards West or Northwest.
Kensington and Chelsea are the most expensive neighbourhoods to find an apartment for yourself, or to share with friends. The average 4-bedroom apartment can be over £7000 – and in cases like Belgravia can be more than £10,000. Westminster, the political heart of the city, is the neighbourhood with the most expensive rooms: a single room can cost more than £660 every month. Camden is the second most expensive neighbourhood in terms of residence rooms, flatshares and other student accommodation alternatives. A private studio in Notting Hill, with its own kitchenette and an en-suite bathroom, should cost at least £1,100 and anything below that is a bargain!
If you are looking to really save some rent money, south London’s your best bet. All the cheapest neighbourhoods are on the south bank: Lewisham and Greenwich are the lowest rents across the board with Lambeth, Southwark and Wandsworth following behind them. A room in Catford, Lewisham can be as cheap as £352 per month and a 4-bedroom apartment in Zone 4’s Eltham (avg. £1248) costs almost as much as a studio in St. John’s Wood (avg. £1244), less than a studio in Marleybone (£1280) can cost almost £1000 less than the more expensive studios in Knightsbridge (avg. £2200).
Obviously there are disadvantages to living in these areas which you have to consider. The further you live away from the city centre, the more you will spend on public transport and the longer you will take to get to and from your university. Neighbourhoods with low rent rates can have bad reputations, higher criminality rates, and poor public transport connections. These are all things you should consider if you are thinking about going for a cheap room, and things you should research if you find one.
You have to find something that fits your taste and your budget: and choosing an adequate neighbourhood is halfway there. The more you can spend on accommodation, the better your place will be and the nicer its neighbourhood. One free piece of advice I can give you: start by looking at the area of London where your university or workplace is and see what the rooms and apartments there will be like. The closer you are to it, the better your quality of life will be. Less commute time and hassle, less stress and more free time all add up.
Personally, I’d never live anywhere else but on the south side. That’s the kind of guy I am: I’m a South Bank sort of man. What about you, have you lived in London before? What do you think is London’s best side? If you have any favourite neighbourhood, let us know – just write it down on the comments section below! Also, remember you can always subscribe to our blog and get our latest posts while they’re still hot.
(Photo credits belong to Tomas Laurinavicius for first and third pictures in this post. Thank you very much, sir.)
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And remember! If you need to find University housing – or you know someone that does – you’ll find the student home you’re looking for on Uniplaces.