In the 2010 Expat Explorer Survey, http://www.expat.hsbc.com/1/2/hsbc-expat/expat-experience/expat-explorer, HSBC reveals that the UK is the most expensive ex-pat location for accommodation. As of 2021, this hasn’t changed. It is true that generally speaking, London is the most expensive town in the UK and a large part of Londoners’ budget is spent on accommodation and transport. While the global recession and banking crisis has resulted in the lowering of property value, rental prices remain high. Unfortunately, in addition, finding accommodation in London can be taxing.
London’s size and transient nature, however, does allow for some flexibility and opportunity when it comes to finding housing. It is difficult to predict the future of the market, but most real estate experts surmise that London will always provide a lucrative property market and that any dip in value is simply temporary. That said, though the 2008 recession did cause a minor blip the market has been hardly hit in comparison to the rest of the UK. If you intend to stay in London for 3 years or less, renting property is probably the wise and safe route to follow.
Two helpful websites to bookmark while you are searching for a place to call home are the National Approved Letting Scheme site (http://www.nalscheme.co.uk) where you will find agents by area and Zoopla (http://www.zoopla.co.uk) which has first-hand comments on the subject of living in the different London’s neighborhoods.
There are three main types of accommodation in London and Expat Info Desk has detailed these options under Accommodation Types. Keep in mind that space is at a premium in London and, depending on where you are coming from, your new home may be smaller than what you are accustomed to in your home country.
- Flats in purpose builts, Victorian conversions, and maisonettes may look aged on the outside, but have been renovated and have modern interiors.
- Terraced houses are rows of houses, this type of construction started in the 17th century. There are also semi-detached houses, which were the answer to the building boom that occurred in the first half of the 20th century.
- For a stand-alone family home (detached house), you will have to look outside of Zone 2. The further you go from central London the more stand-alone houses you will find.