How much does it cost to live in London in 2018?

How much does it cost to live in London in 2018?

London can be one seriously pricey city to live in. However, there is some good news: due to the weakening British pound the cost of living in the capital has been falling. It might just be the right time to make the big move.

London is certainly one of the greatest cities on earth, which means thousands of people emigrate to the capital city every year. If you’re looking to do the same, you’re probably already aware that it’s one seriously pricey city to live in. However, there is some good news: Due to the weakening Pound the cost of living in London has recently dropped, making this potentially the perfect time to make the big move.

London prices are falling down!

Prices in London are dropping, which is fantastic news for anyone thinking about making it their new home. You may be surprised to discover that London has moved down to number 42 on the Numbeo Cost of Living Index for 2018. Not bad compared to popular destinations like New York and Sydney, sitting at number 14 and 32 respectively. In addition to this, London has sunk to its lowest position in 20 years on the Worldwide Cost of Living Report for 2017. The capital fell from sixth to 24th position in the report.

By the numbers: London vs Sydney and New York

Expats often compare London to New York and Sydney in terms of lifestyle and desirability. All three cities boast world-renowned attractions and a very high quality of life. So, to give you an idea of how much prices have dropped in London, let’s compare the cost of living across all three cities.

*All prices in GBP are approximate averages as of February 2018

Rent, per month

London New York Sydney
One bedroom flat, city centre £1664 £2277 £1523
One bedroom flat, outside city centre £1202 £1383 £1120
Three bedrooms, city centre £3126 £4443 £2648
Three bedrooms, outside city centre £1978 £2417 £1620

The cost of accommodation in London are some of the highest in the world, but keep in mind that the closer you are to the city centre, the more expensive your accommodation is likely to be. London isn’t a small place, it’s made up of 32 boroughs plus the City of London, so you have a lot of choice. If you hunt for long enough, you’ll find yourself a good deal.

It’s common to share accommodation with other people in the UK, as this works out to be significantly cheaper. The best way to go about finding suitable accommodation is to use tried and tested accommodation finders, such as Arrive Homes or the Movebubble app.

Finding a housemate you’re compatible with can be a bit more of a challenge, which is why websites like EasyRoommate and come in handy.

Food and drink

London New York Sydney
Pub meal £15.00 £13.00 £8.50
Restaurant meal for two £50.60 £56.25 £45.70
Bottle of wine in supermarket £8.13 £11.00 £10.26
12 eggs in a supermarket £2.18 £2.22 £2.51
Pint of beer £4.56 £5.11 £5.14

You’re spoilt for choice in London when it comes to restaurants. Being a major international city, you can find some of the best restaurants in the world, and every type of cuisine you could wish for. Of course, you’re going to pay much more for a meal at a high-end restaurant than at your local pub. The good news is that London’s restaurant prices are 8.58% cheaper than in New York’s.

When it comes to groceries, the UK has a large range of supermarkets for you to choose from. The more expensive supermarkets are Marks & Spencers (which is equivalent to our Woolworths), Waitrose and Whole Foods. Mid-range supermarkets include Tesco (which is similar to Pick ‘n Pay), Sainsbury’s and Morrisons; and you’re going to find the cheapest groceries at Aldi, ASDA and Iceland. It pays to shop around for the best prices and buy certain items at the cheaper supermarkets.

Going out for a pint (or five) doesn’t have to break the bank either. Once again, the more central the pub, the more expensive their drinks are likely to be. However, many pubs, such as Wetherspoons and Sam Smiths have happy hours and specials at certain times. Check their websites before heading through to ensure you get more beer for your buck (or Pound, in this case).


London New York Sydney
One-way ticket on local transport £2.53 £2.01 £2.29
Monthly pass £133.64 £88.36 £99.35
One litre of fuel £1.22 £0.53 £0.77
Taxi fare, per kilometre £2.05 £1.15 £1.25

Public transport costs in London are the highest in the world, which is why you will see so many people walking and riding their bikes around the city. There are, however, many different options when it comes to public transport. The two main types of public transport are TfL (Transport for London) services and non-TfL services. The Tube, TfL Rail, buses and overground are all run by TfL, whereas commuter trains are not.

If you’re going to be making use of public transport daily, it’s best to invest in an Oyster Card. These offer great deals, like allowing you to catch a second bus or tram free of charge if you do so within one hour of the start of your journey. You can pay-as-you-go with your Oyster Card, or add monthly passes onto your card. It’s a flexible and easy to use option.

Lifestyle expenses

London New York Sydney
Movie ticket £12.15 £10.95 £11.43
Monthly gym membership £48.50 £53.83 £42.85
Pair of jeans (Levis 501 or similar) £64.27 £38.97 £57.79
Internet (60Mbps or more, unlimited data, cable/ADSL) £27.81 £42.71 £39.99

Lifestyle costs will vary greatly depending on your individual tastes. Clothes shopping in high-end stores on Oxford street is really going to break the bank, whereas chain stores such as Zara and H&M are far more affordable. You can also go hunting for vintage treasures in some of London’s thrift and charity shops if that’s more your cup of tea.

If you’re going to want a gym membership, it might cost you a pretty penny, but it’s always best to have a look at the various options in your area and see if they offer free classes or discounts to newcomers.

*All prices in GBP are approximate averages as of February 2018

Apply for your UK visa before the fee increase

If you’ve been considering, or putting off, applying for a UK visa, now is the time for action! The Home Office revises and increases the UK visa fees every year on 6 April, which means you have about ta month to apply before the fees increase. The increases are unpredictable, with visas going up by anything from £2 to £200, so rather save yourself those extra Pounds for when you get to London by applying for your visa before April.

Thinking about giving London a go? 1st Contact can assist you with everything from your UK visa application to getting your London life off to the best possible start using our Kickstart packages. Give our team a call on +44 (0) 20 7759 7536 to find out how you can assist you.


TOP IMAGE: By Julius_Silver. (Via Pixabay)

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