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To wonder how ordinary people can afford to live in London?

240 replies

Rhine · 13/08/2015 21:50

By ordinary people I mean those of us who aren't millionaires, oligarchs and trustafarians. Obviously there must be ordinary people living there, but how on earth do they afford it? To buy there is eye watteringly expensive, so I suppose they must all be in rentals but then the rental prices are bad enough.

To get things in perspective you could probably get a five bed detached with land attached for the price of a small one bed flat in central London.

Pardon my igorance on this matter but it's always baffled me. Where do all the taxi drivers, shop workers, hotel staff, police, fire personnel, doctors, nurses etc live? Do they live in social housing, or are they miles out and commute in every morning?

It's a bit hard for a small town girl like me to get my head around.

OP posts:
Coffeemarkone · 17/08/2015 10:38

well OK so you live near Edinburgh - that is good for you.
No need to make negative comments about London then is there?
You don't have to live there, do you?

RedDaisyRed · 17/08/2015 10:42

Here in zone 5 London I also " live in a 5 bedroomed house, 4 huge public rooms, massive garden2 [ well just under an acre] ,set in a small estate [ in our case private estate with wood opposite] surrounded by native woodland.
It's a 3 minute walk to the train station [ more like 15 minutes to walk to tube] and I can be in the heart of the capital in 15 minutes [ more like 30 on the tube] and I expect the house is worth more than Edinburgh prices.

For most people once your children start going to school you tend to stay in that area. I found it useful the 3 graduate children could move back home after university to study and then work in London (although of course they could do that in Edinburgh too) and this is a reasonable compromise between town and country but other people like to be more in depth of countryside and others want to walk to work. My daughter walks to work in 5 minutes and lives in London.

HeighHoghItsBacktoWorkIGo · 17/08/2015 11:13

Yes Red, having a base that is commutable to jobs in London is a massive advantage for older children. I see it all the time in my neighbourhood. Grown children who haven't worked very hard, imho, still often land on their feet in my neighbourhood because they are can take jobs in the city (pa, back office operations in a bank, etc.) while living at home subsidised by mum and dad.

My own DH was from the shires. He was very bright and very diligent, but when he first came to London he had to spend all his cash on a shared dive in Islington (not so nice 25 years ago). Meanwhile, people we've met who could live at home got on the housing ladder about 7 years sooner because they could live rent free with mum and dad.

I am not complaining, life in general is not fair in many ways. But it is a dynamic that I have noticed. We've decided not to flee outer London for someplace easier for us because as the DC grow up, our being based here offers them such a huge advantage.

Apatite1 · 17/08/2015 11:13

Not everyone living in London is in a tiny house/flat as Red has demonstrated. We live in a small flat now but are soon moving into a large 5 bed house in SE London not a moment too soon as I'm expecting

We are never selling our London house, it was a hugely profitable investment.

Apatite1 · 17/08/2015 11:16

I'm open to a lovely second home a bit outside Edinburgh for 215k though!

Mintyy · 17/08/2015 11:33

Good lord, have you still not moved into your large 5 bed house Apatite? This transaction seems to have been going on for yonks!

Apatite1 · 17/08/2015 12:14

Nope. We move in December mintyy. Can't wait. Sorry to bang on about it but am v v excited after living in a rabbit hutch for years.

fancyanotherfez · 17/08/2015 12:27

My parents have lived in London for 40 years. They sold their family home and bought a bungalow with no mortgage. I bought a flat 20 years ago, sold it for double the price and bought a family home when I got married. We have an interest only mortgage. We will never pay off the mortgage without selling the house and moving out of London or waiting for the kids to leave home ( they will have to leave London or live with my parents who will be in their '80's by then !!!) and buying a one bedroom flat! We are the lucky ones!

MerryMarigold · 17/08/2015 14:32

I think if you are 40something you were ok if you had your first flat in the 90's. Tons of 'ordinary' (but v lovely) people where I used to live in zone 3, 12 mins from Liverpool St on the overground. Lots of teachers/ social workers/ healthcare workers/ ed psychs etc. owning 3 bed properties.

RedDaisyRed · 17/08/2015 16:20

Heigh, yes some parents move out of London to very very deprived areas like Cornwall where the parents can look at cows but the children don't get as many life chances unless shipped off to boarding school.

HeighHoghItsBacktoWorkIGo · 17/08/2015 17:13

Wow Apatite1! That's some major neighbourhood arbitraging!

BeaufortBelle · 17/08/2015 21:47

Well we are now in zone 6, have a county post code and a London phone number. It so isn't like living in London but neither was zone 3 and that was slower to get to the City than now. I resisted moving for a long time but I shouldn't have. It's lovely out here.

RedDaisyRed · 18/08/2015 07:45

Exactly and it's not a competition as to who lives in real London and who doesn't. People have to find something that works for them. I would rather I didn't have to allow an hour door to door from here but that's becasue we don't live 2 mins from the tube, more like 5 min drive plus parking time etc and that's fine because the plus point is the private road with wood opposite and large detached house.

What people do need to consider is how final a choice is. About 10 years ago we could have sold this house and for double the price got a house half the size in Mayfair. (4x differential). Now it would be much more (not that I want to live there - in other words Central London prices have moved more than zone 5 although at the moment actually a lot of people are moving out to places like Surrey and prices are going up there although not to such an extent I'd suggest Central London other than very top of the market is a bad choice.)

OkeyletsGo · 13/01/2017 20:26

I have just worked in London (high professional) for three days, rented an apartment by St Pauls Cathedral.
What an AWFUL place - talk about a concrete jungle / rat race.
You only live once - Can't understand why people like the place.
My one bedroom apartment to rent each month would be £1800.
A two bedroom (2 mins away) looking over the thames is £5000 per month.
Sod that.
Get a real life and live somewhere with proper open space and a life-balance way of living

kaputt · 13/01/2017 21:23

Well yeah but £5000 a month is rich person prices, and the Thames is ugly.

The thing with London is people find a niche. All kinds of people, the same as anywhere. There's a far larger chunk of it than is normal that's full of unfathomable weath, but there's still a majority of average people living average lives in average neighbourhoods. The trade is just space/commuting to work time. Eg we live in Zone 2 in a flat. We could live in Kent in a nice (not palatial, just ordinary 'nice') house if we wanted to, but we don't.

I can see how you could come here and do tourist stuff in rich person land, and think that's all there is. But it really isn't!

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