House prices have been soaring across the UK for over 15 years now, and London has the highest house price rises than any other area in Britain.
With house prices at an all time high, and young professionals struggling to get their first step on to the property ladder, you may wonder where they live in London.
Unsurprisingly many do not live in the heart of the capital. Places like Knightsbridge, Mayfair, Westminster, and the City of London are just too expensive.
So, where do young professionals live in London?
Young professionals live in the outer boroughs of London. Towns such as Stratford, Woolwich, Lewisham, Battersea and Hackney are popular with young professionals living and working in London. Average house price in Outer London is £717,801 and means young professionals usually need to rent.
Many London properties are being converted into multi-room house shares as landlords look to capitalise on every inch of floor space, and there are more young professionals house sharing in London than renting or owning their own home.
Most Popular London Boroughs for Young Professionals to Live
Considering the average house price in Mayfair more than £2.7m (as of 2021) it means Inner London is off limits to almost all young professionals.
With Inner London just too expensive, even for rental or house sharing, many young professionals are turning towards the slightly cheaper outer boroughs (and beyond) and commuting back and forth.
Here are the most popular towns and boroughs for living and working in London:
Almost all of these places have less than a 30 minute commute into central London each way.
In Stratford, for example, a one bedroom flat costs an average of £1,100 to £1,300 PCM to rent. This is sole use of, usually, a standard one bedroom flat.
A house share with private large bedroom costs an average of £550 to £750 PCM depending on size, amenities and often how close it is to public transport into London such as an underground station, overground station or bus stop.
These prices are correct as at time of publishing (Summer 2021).
Stratford is also just one overground train stop away from London Liverpool Street station, with access to the heart of the City of London.
Doing this journey daily for a number of years I can state, with confidence, this journey takes approx. 5 minutes (depending on any platform delays getting into London Liverpool Street station).
Tower Hill, Aldgate, St Paul’s and Bank are within easy access too and can all be reached from London Liverpool Street in under 10 minutes.
Living in outer London gives the best of both worlds. Easy access in and out of London to save on commuting but also a more affordable solution.
Essex and Kent are also areas young professionals live when working in London. The average price to rent the sole use of a one bedroom flat is £750 PCM.
Costs are lower but journey and commuting time is increased to around 45mins to 1 hour each way.
Often young professionals have to decide between shorter commuting distance and larger and sole use of home.
The average price of a one bedroom flat in Essex and Kent is £180,000-£220,000, which gives a young professional couple – with an £18,000 to £22,000 deposit saved – the chance to take that all important first step on the property ladder.
Considering the average price of a one bedroom flat in Stratford, London is £350,000-£400,000 – this is not an option for many young professionals starting their careers.
It does raise the question as to why someone would want to live and work in London.
Why Young Professionals want to live in London
London has a huge number of working opportunities for many young professionals.
A financial hub for many large corporate businesses and institutions, it creates opportunities and careers.
Living in London, I was used to living by myself and going to bars and restaurants alone, but London is a great place to meet new people.
There are so many great bars and restaurants here in London that have amazing food and drinks.
There are also so many events happening every single month, and what feels like daily, that make it an enjoyable place to be.
You could never get bored in London. It has an abundance of character.
The nightlife here in London is amazing, especially on the weekends when the people pretty much party all night long.
In the daytime there are so many places to explore, from bustling shopping centres and historical markets where traders come and sell their wares as they have done in the same spot for hundreds of years.
Every type of cuisine, every type of culture, every type of music catered for – the list goes on and on.
It’s a city to not only work hard but play hard too.
London also has a range of large green spaces such as Hyde Park which is a great place to relax and unwind, or even have a quiet picnic.
London has something for everyone, but this is why it is particularly popular for young professionals, and why it draws them in from far and wide.
Average Young professional Wage in London vs House Prices
London has a salary uplift called ‘London Weighting’. The intention of London Weighting was to help provide the extra support needed for staff to help with the burden of the additional costs of living in London.
This uplift is around 8% to 10% of a standard salary when compared to the salary of similar roles in neighbouring counties.
That said the number of people living and working in London has soared in recent years. The pool of potential candidates an employer can now choose from has steadily increased.
This can mean an increase in competition over job roles with more and more candidates applying for the same jobs.
Compared to surrounding counties like Essex and Kent, the opposite can be true as candidates flock to London for more opportunities.
Alternatives for Young Professionals Working in London
Alternatives for young professionals who want to work near to London include the bordering counties – such as Kent and Essex.
The county of Essex is home to more London workers than anywhere else outside London.
Transport links into London from Essex are extensive and are served by two major train companies operating in North and South Essex along almost all major towns in the county – certainly up as far as Colchester.
Rather than working in London, some young professionals have decided to work close to London in counties such as Essex, but live close enough to London that it is no more than a 20-30 minute train ride away.
Commuting to London by car, with the now 24 hours a day 7 days a week Congestion Charge, and also the relatively new ULEZ charge, it means a day trip into central London costs £27.50!
This is without the extremely high costs of parking, which can work out at more than £10 per hour in some car parks.
Young Professionals in London – In Conclusion
As house prices have climbed out of reach for almost all first time buyers in Central London, it means young professionals need to look at the boroughs that make up Outer London for rental or purchase opportunities.
More people who work in London room share than rent the sole use of a property or have a mortgage.
There are opportunities for young professionals to either live in surrounding counties where property and rental prices are lower – or work near to London in surrounding counties and be able to commute and experience London whenever they choose.