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The Cost of Living in London

  • November 28, 2019

It’s no secret that London is the most expensive place to live in the UK and one of the most expensive cities in the world. Despite the hefty price tag that comes hand-in-hand with living in the UK’s capital, it’s still a highly sought-after location for its vibrant atmosphere and abundance of attractions. In this article, we will be dissecting the cost of living in London to help you decide if it’s a city you would like to consider relocating to.

Accommodation

There are numerous costs to consider when relocating to the UK and these costs will vary depending on your situation. Whether you’ll be relocating on your own or with you family can have a huge impact on the cost of living in any city, let alone in London. One of the most important costs to consider, no matter the circumstances, is accommodation. London is notorious for its steep house prices, so it is probably best to consider this cost before any others. In the table below, you can see the average prices of renting and buying in London, though it is important to note that this is just a guide, and the prices can vary depending on the area of the city you’re hoping to move to.

Renting:

Cost of Renting in London per Month

Cost

1 Bedroom Apartment in the City Centre

£1,696.82

1 Bedroom Apartment Outside of the City Centre

£1,203.32

3 Bedroom Apartment in the City Centre

£3,161.11

3 Bedroom Apartment Outside of the City Centre

£2,024.51

Buying:

Cost of Buying in London

Cost

Average price of a property in London

£457,471

Average lowest potential price of property in the cheapest area of London

£297,039

Utilities

Another obvious expense to consider is utility bills such as water, electricity and gas. As with the property prices, this is merely a guide and can differ based on a number of different factors such as the size of your accommodation and the energy provider you are with.

Type of Utility

Cost

1 Bedroom apartment council tax per year

Up to £1200            

3 Bedroom apartment council tax per year

Up to £1,400           

1 Bedroom apartment water bill per month

£24.60

3 Bedroom apartment water bill per month

£29.05

1 Bedroom apartment electricity bill per month

£25.00

3 Bedroom apartment electricity bill per month

£60.00

1 Bedroom apartment gas bill per month

£26.50

3 Bedroom apartment gas bill per month

£60.57

Internet bill per month (60 Mbps or more, unlimited data)

£31.35

Potential monthly utility total for a 1-bedroom apartment:

£207.45

Potential monthly utility total for a 3-bedroom apartment:

£267.64

Childcare

Education in state funded schools in the UK is free once a child starts infant school as council tax covers these costs. However, if you have a child below school age, or if you need someone to look after your children after school, you will need to pay for a childminder or nursery.

Type of Childcare

Cost per week

Registered Childminder (25 hours for a child under 2)

£159

Day Nursery (25 hours for a child under 2)

£174 

Part-time Nanny (25 Hours)

£250-£400 per week including tax and National Insurance contributions

Monthly total for a Registered Childminder for 25 hours per-week:

£636

Monthly total for a Day Nursery for 25 hours per-week

£696

Monthly cost for a Part-time Nanny for 25 hour per-week, £400 per week:

£1600

Groceries

The cost of groceries can differ depending on how many people you’re buying for, how much you buy, which supermarket you buy from and if you choose to purchase branded products over shop labelled products, so we can only offer a rough estimate. However, the average monthly cost of groceries for a single person in London if they were only buying the basics is £250. The table below offers a breakdown of common household products and is not exhaustive.

Product

Cost

Milk 1 litre

97p

Loaf of Bread 500 grams

£1.09

Carton of 12 Eggs

£2.04

Cheese 500 grams

£3.48

Chicken Breasts 1kg

£5.93

Beef 1kg

£8.28

Rice 1kg

£1.28

1 head of Lettuce

75p

Tomatoes 500g

£1.30

Potatoes 1kg

£1.19

Onions 1kg

£1.02

Apples 1kg

£1.88

Bananas 1kg

£1.07

Oranges 1kg

£2.03

Coffee 200-gram jar

£2.15

Teabags 125-gram box

£1.50

Sugar 2kg bag

£1.30

Toilet Roll x 4 rolls

£2.00

Shower Gel 250ml

£1.00

Toothpaste 125ml

£2.00

Deodorant 50ml

£2.04

Shampoo 400ml

£4.41

Washing Powder 2.6kg

£6.00

Washing up Liquid 780ml

£1.80

Beer 0.5 litre bottle

£1.80

Bottle of Wine

£8.00

Water 1.5 litre bottle

83p

Total cost if you bought one of each of these items in one shopping trip:

£67.14

Commuting and Transportation Expenses

Depending on where you will be working, and how much you intend to travel in your free time, it’s worth considering your travel options and the potential expenses. A benefit of living in London is that travel cards will work on multiple modes of transport, for example, Oyster cards work on both tubes and buses, and the cost is capped. If you plan to use public transport, is also worth considering which zones you will be frequenting as this will also have an impact on the cost. We have a more in-depth article about modes of transport in the UK which explains the London transport system in more detail which you can read here, but to give you an idea of what public transport in London is like, there’s over 19,000 bus stops in London served by roughly 8000 buses daily.

Mode of Transport

Cost

One-Way local transport ticket

£2.50

Weekly Zone 1-6 Oyster Travelcard

£60.20

Weekly Zone 1-2 Oyster Travelcard

£32.10

1km Taxi Journey

£3.11

1 litre of Petrol

£1.29

Monthly Transportation Pass

£144.24

Monthly Zone 1-6 Oyster Travelcard

£246.60

Monthly Zone 1-2 Oyster Travelcard

£134.80

A month’s worth of one-way tickets:

£150

Leisure and Activities

Whilst it may not be considered a necessity, it is important to make sure you have some extra money for activities you enjoy. As such, it’s good to get an idea of the cost of restaurants, cinemas and other leisure activities. Once again, the prices will differ from restaurant to restaurant and venue to venue, these are merely average costs.

Activity

Cost

Meal for 1 person at an inexpensive restaurant

£15

Meal for 2 people at a mid-range restaurant

£55

Fast Food meal for 1 person

£6.00

Beer 0.5ltr bottle

£5.00

Coke/Pepsi 0.33 litre bottle

£4.50

Water 0.33 litre bottle

£1.46

Cappuccino

£2.81

Monthly Gym Membership for 1 person

£38.46

Cinema tickets for 2 people

£26

Theatre tickets for 2 people

£174

Meal for 2 and a trip to the cinema total:

£81

Meal for 2 and a trip to the theatre total:

£229

We cannot offer any kind of definitive monthly total as there are so many variables, from where you live, to how you intend to travel, and how many groceries you will purchase a month. Below, we offer a very rough monthly total for a single person and a family of three, but we really do emphasise that this is only a rough estimate and can vary greatly depending on your circumstances. The following estimates are based on renting in the centre of London, they also do not include any kind of leisure activities and assume that the adults in the family will be using a monthly transport pass rather than driving.

Costs for One Person:

Rough monthly costs for 1 person

Cost

1 Bedroom Apartment Outside of the City Centre

£1,203.32

Council tax per-month

£100

Water bill

£24.60

Electricity bill

£25.00

Gas bill

£26.50

Internet bill per month (60 Mbps or more, unlimited data)

£31.35

Groceries

£250

Monthly Zone 1-2 Oyster Travelcard

£134.80 

Monthly Total:

£1795.57

Costs for a Family:

Rough monthly costs for 2 adults and 1 child under 5 years old

Cost

3 Bedroom Apartment Outside of the City Centre

£2,024.51

Council tax per-month

£116.67

Water bill

£29.05

Electricity bill

£60.00

Gas bill

£60.57

Internet bill per month (60 Mbps or more, unlimited data)

£31.35

Monthly total for a Day Nursery for 25 hours per-week

£696

Groceries

£625

Monthly transport pass for 2 adults

£493.20

Monthly Total:

£4136.35

Relocation to the UK

If you are an international doctor who would like to relocate to London, or anywhere else in the UK, please email your CV to [email protected] and we will be happy to help you.

Are you a member of our Facebook group? When you join IMG Advisor, you will join a community of doctors all looking to relocate to the UK and join the NHS. We post a series of blogs and vlogs into the group every single day. We will also always be on hand to answer all your relocation queries.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel! We have over 45 videos on everything you need to know about relocating to the UK and joining the NHS!

Listen to BDI Resourcing on the go with our podcast, IMG Advisor, You can find us on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher and Buzzsprout. We have several episodes with tips and advice about relocating to the UK and the routes you can take to achieve this.

References

Moneyadviceservice.org.uk. (2019). Average childcare costs. [online] Available at: https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/childcare-costs [Accessed 26 Nov. 2019].

Horne, B. (2019). Buying a house in London: house prices and costs - Which?. [online] Which? Money. Available at: https://www.which.co.uk/money/mortgages-and-property/first-time-buyers/buying-a-home/buying-a-house-or-flat-in-london-arf8g3r8sxpp [Accessed 26 Nov. 2019].

Living, C. and Kingdom, U. (2019). Cost of Living in London, United Kingdom. Nov 2019 prices in London.. [online] Expatistan, cost of living comparisons. Available at: https://www.expatistan.com/cost-of-living/london [Accessed 26 Nov. 2019].

Living, C. and Kingdom, U. (2019). Cost of Living in London. [online] Numbeo.com. Available at: https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/in/London [Accessed 26 Nov. 2019].

Workgateways.com. (2019). New arrivals - Cost of Living in the UK, Cost of living London, Cost of living England. [online] Available at: https://www.workgateways.com/working-in-the-uk/cost-of-living [Accessed 26 Nov. 2019].

Citrus Relocation and Lifestyle. (2019). Relocation to London and UK Utility Prices and London | Citrus Relocation. [online] Available at: https://www.citrusrelocation.com/utilities-property-pricing-london/ [Accessed 26 Nov. 2019].

Data.london.gov.uk. (2019). TfL Bus Stop Locations and Routes – London Datastore. [online] Available at: https://data.london.gov.uk/dataset/tfl-bus-stop-locations-and-routes [Accessed 28 Nov. 2019].

 
 

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