How Much Does It Cost To Rent Outside London?

BethPH
By BethPH Last edited 24 months ago
How Much Does It Cost To Rent Outside London?
Average rents in counties around London. Picture by Abi Brady used under Creative Commons

First came the London Underground rent map. Now, with increasing numbers of people finding themselves unable to afford rent in the capital, we decided to look at how much it costs to rent and commute in from the surrounding counties.

We're making a few assumptions here to keep things consistent. We've searched for a self-contained studio or one-bed flat across the entire county less than a mile from a train station, then looked at the cost of commuting to Zone 1 from that property. We haven't included utility bills or council tax. We also calculated the average rent for the county based on the most expensive and cheapest properties on Rightmove as a comparison.

Essex

Once we'd eliminated something which was being advertised as a one-bed flat share (presumably for two very good friends), the cheapest property we found was a one-bed for £400 pcm in Walton on the Naze. It's unfurnished but it's less than half a mile from the station. It could also be one of the cheapest sea views around. Walton is on the Abellio Greater Anglia line into Liverpool Street, and it just avoids being the most tortuous commute of all our home counties at one hour 40 minutes. A monthly season ticket, including tube travel, will set you back £600.

Cost to rent and travel: £1,000

Average rent: £975

Kent

The cheapest flat we could find in Kent was a studio in Folkestone for £300 pcm. It boasts its own bathroom and kitchen, though we think the latter is a little, erm... on the spartan side. On the plus side, it's just 300 metres from the mainline station at Folkestone centre. Commuting in would leave you at the tender mercies of Southeastern and a direct train into London Bridge takes one hour 45 minutes, beating Essex by a mere five minutes. A monthly season ticket, including tube travel, is £650.

Cost to rent and travel: £970

Average rent: £700

Surrey

This place in Addlestone takes away the cheapest flat in Surrey prize. It will set you back £525 pcm, and it's a mere 400 metres from the station. South West Trains runs the line to Waterloo, and a monthly season ticket is a snip at £344, including tube travel. Most of the trains involve a change at Weybridge, but the quickest one that'll get you in for about 8.30am takes 56 minutes.

Cost to rent and travel: £869

Average rent: £1,013

Berkshire

If the thought of London rents brings you out in a cold sweat, we'd advise against moving to Berkshire. The cheapest one bed flat we found was this one in Reading for £650 pcm. The good news (at least on the travel front) is that trains into Paddington with South West Trains are super-fast at around 30 minutes. The bad news is that, like Marylebone, it's a pain to travel beyond the West End. A monthly season ticket is £477.

Cost to rent and travel: £1,127

Average rent: £1,000

Buckinghamshire

Aylesbury is home to one of the more spacious flats we found; this unfurnished one-bed comes in at £525 pcm and is 500 metres from the station. Aylesbury station (not to be confused with the more recently built Aylesbury Vale Parkway) is on the Chiltern Railways line into Marylebone, and the monthly season ticket is £414. It'll take you an hour and if you work in the West End, you're laughing. But the downside of this particular line is that if you happen to work in the City or Canary Wharf, add on another 20-30 minutes.

Cost to rent and travel: £939

Average rent: £910

Hertfordshire

In the last of our home counties, Letchworth Garden City is where you'll find the cheapest studio flat at £550 pcm. It's furnished and 700 metres from Letchworth station, which is on the Thameslink and Great Northern line into King's Cross and Moorgate. A season ticket is £496 and the journey time ranges from a super-speedy 28 minutes to a more sedate 51 minutes. After work drinkers should note that the trains stop running from Moorgate at 10pm and go from King's Cross instead. But since Herts is the second most expensive county we looked at, you probably won't be able to afford to stay out later than that anyway.

Cost to rent and travel: £1,046

Average rent: £875

So there you have it. The average wage in London is £27,999 which works out to around £1,850 per month after tax. While it's cheaper in terms of rent paid per month outside of London, some counties aren't that far behind the capital. Add to that the cost of travelling, and you might not save much at all. Living in Herts or Essex and commuting to work would leave you with less than £200 per week for utility bills, food, council tax, clothing and fun. Living in London, you're probably left with roughly the same.

Choosing between living in London or in one of the home counties may just be an exercise in degrees of unaffordability.

Last Updated 26 February 2016

Natalie Masento

If you did the same calculations but to buy property instead of renting I think you'd see a very different picture.

Ahmet Douas

Ironically, you can find a nice studio in the Met line around Moor Park for 750 GBP a month. Given that it is on the tube, it still works out a good 250 pounds a month cheaper. And it is a nicer area than some ghettos in London. I have a friend living in Marleybone, sharing a flat with 2 others in a 2.5 bedroom house and paying at least 1000 GBP a month. Between you and me, I would rather live alone and pay 750, park my car easily and just take the tube back and forth from the city without having to pay RipOff National Rail fares. The main reason property rentals are so expensive is because people are willing to share houses and live in very low standards of living just to be in the Center of London. No Thank you!

Lolla Moon

the problem is, these properties are nice. with the same amount of money in London all you can afford to rent is a shith0le shared with cvnts. it's a matter of wanting to be near the city where things happen or wanting to live in a place that doesn't depress you. :)

Koola

This is a daft study. Instead of using Walton on the Naze, use somewhere in Essex people actually commute from? A season ticket from Southend or basildon will cost half that price, and the rent won't be too much more... and it'll take 35-55mins. There's a reason tens of thousands commute to the City daily from somewhere reasonably affordable to live!

DBN

Thanks for doing this, very informative. The other big factor I'd include if deliberating between London and the home counties would be the 'liveability'factor - densely populated, noisy, stressful but more exciting London vs. more sedate, community based, more mundane home counties.

Asparagus Tips

I live in and commute daily, from Leicester. Why not go the whole hog and include the other counties? My 2 bed terrace house with 10 metre garden and 2 parking spaces is currently worth £128,000 and I paid £93k. I'm sure people will be interested in this. Average rents in my street are £520/month

jakuk

Or you can look a little further out (distance, not time)
You can BUY a 3 bed terrace in Wellingborough for less than £130k, it's only 50mins into St Pancras. The train tickets are expensive at £560 a month, but your mortgage would be less then £600 so for less than £1100 you can own your own place