London workers trying to save money on rent and travel costs should move to Bexley, research by Generation Rent suggests.
Research by the campaign group found that out of the whole of the south east of England, Hastings is the cheapest place for someone to live and commute into London, but they would spend around three-and-a-half hours on public transport every day. A Bexley resident would spend just an hour and 12 minutes on the train.
Generation Rent compared rents for all districts in London, the South East and East of England, and commuting times and costs from each to central London. A worker in central London would spend 36 minutes on a train from Bexleyheath into Charing Cross, £700 a month on a typical one-bed flat and £2188 on their annual travel card – a total of £10,588 a year.
Living in Hastings would cost £10,312 a year in rent and travel. Gravesend is also cheaper than London at £10,508, but involves two hours 22 minutes on public transport a day.
The research also found:
Barking & Dagenham and Havering also offer London living for less than £12,000 rent and travel costs and less than 90 minutes on public transport a day.
The cheapest place outside London with a similar length return commute (94 minutes) is Leighton Buzzard, setting you back £525 a month on a one-bed, and £5112 on a travel card – £11,412 in total.
The cheapest area with a return commute of less than an hour in total is Waltham Forest with rent and travel of £12,308. And there are places where the length of commute is clearly not an issue: to rent in Richmond, you’d part with £16,588 a year but spend one hour and 16 minutes on the train each day.
If you wanted to avoid public transport altogether and cycle into work, the cheapest place to live in Inner London is Lewisham, with a rent of £11,400 a year. Otherwise, inner London is not an option for renters on modest salaries, who would need to pay more than £16,000 on rent and travel a year.
The findings come as Generation Rent calls on the London Mayoral candidates to take action on affordability in the capital by seeking new powers from Westminster over rents, putting more pressure on developers to build homes for ordinary Londoners and prioritising the building of genuinely affordable housing on publicly owned land.
Generation Rent director Betsy Dillner said: “London rents rose by nearly 4% last year and are squeezing people on ordinary incomes. Despite this, an alternative of interminable commutes or exorbitant season tickets means living in the capital remains the cheapest viable option for people who work there.
“Housing is eroding Londoners’ disposable income and their quality of life suffers as a result. The next London mayor must make affordability a priority and use their mandate to press central government for powers to introduce rent control.”
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