Most houses in London are build with yellow bricks which gives the famous London row houses a sort of uniform look. In reality they don’t all look the same, although sometimes it feels like they do. One common issue all expats will have to face is the lack of storage space.
The main types of accommodation available in London.
The Victorian Conversion
The Victorian Conversion is a single-family home that has be transformed into a building with a few single flats. Studios, one and two bedroom flats often make up the Victorian Conversion. While these buildings are very historical from the outside, you will often find that many landlords have completed renovations to make the flats contemporary. Rental prices are high. While the Victorian Conversion is generally sophisticated-looking, walls can be thin so if you can’t handle noise this might not be the option for you!
Purpose Built – (Flat)
The purpose-built apartment building is just what it sounds like – a building purposely built to contain flats. Tower blocks are one form of such housing and came about after the Second World War. One thing to note about purpose-built accommodation in London is that many of these buildings comprise a mix of both ‘social’ and ‘private’ housing. Depending on your stance on the issue this can make for an ideal and diverse living situation or a slightly more negative experience. While the majority of purpose-built buildings in London are safe and make for an interesting atmosphere, you will find some that are a bit rougher. Do your research if you intend to move to a purpose-built set-up. You will find that many of the flats occupied by social housing occupants create a family atmosphere while others might expose a less welcoming feel. The purpose-built flat is generally cheaper than the Victorian Conversion and the buildings are well-constructed with many offering double-glazed windows.
The Maisonette is generally the most expensive option for expats in London. This type of housing is essentially a self-contained flat with its own private entrance on street level. The maisonette is usually comprised of two levels with an internal staircase. Rental prices are generally very high, as privacy is a huge benefit of the Maisonette.
A terraced house is a house which shares both side walls with another house creating houses in a row that are joined together. Size varies greatly from 2 up 2 down (2 rooms upstairs, 2 downstairs) to larger properties with 3 bedrooms. The walls are rather thin, so try to visit the property when the neighbours are in. Check the sale and rental prices with the local estate-agents.
Usually a three or four bedroom house practical for a family, a “semi”, for short, consists or two houses sharing a party wall. These type of houses will be mostly found, but not exclusively, in the suburbs of London – Zone 2 and outwards – a Semi-detached house usually has a substantial garden.
Rarely found in zone 1, these are houses that stand alone and are not joined to any other. Detached houses have a front and a back garden. If you have a large family, detached could be the option, you will need to look outside Zone 2 and consider your transport options.
Detached houses are not found in Zones 1 to 3 but in Zones 4 to 6. The official definition of a bungalow is a small house that has all of its living space on the ground floor. However, nowadays, bungalows tend to be two stories and are large enough to accommodate a family. So, for all intents and purposes, bungalow simply means a stand alone dwelling.
Flat and house share
Typical to London, flat and house shares are popular because they allow people to cut the cost of their rent or mortgage. One room rented in a rented house with shared accommodation is called a bedsit, but you can also find homeowners who rent a whole floor of their own house.