Why Is london an expensive city?


London is one of the largest and most influential cities in the World, historically playing a central role in fashion, industry, finance, and is a global cultural centre as well. It’s also one of the most expensive cities in the World, measured in terms of total cost or general affordability.

The city is a hot spot for professionals and artisans and boasts high wages. Average wages in London are the highest in the United Kingdom and are very competitive with any city in Europe. If an individual can find an affordable living space, London might even prove to be comparatively cheaper than many other urban settings, due to the high average wages.

Average house price:

  • London: £656,753
  • UK: £231,855

Average monthly rent:

  • London: £1,665 a month
  • UK: £886 (If you remove London prices from the equation, it goes down to £760)

Average beer price

  • London: £4.44
  • UK: £3.67

If you’re a student going to a London university, you get a higher loan than elsewhere in the country, because the government knows that you’ll be spending a lot more money on accommodation and food.

It depends on what you’re comparing it to – someone who lives in an affluent area might look at those prices and think “Well, that’s the sort of prices I’m used to, London isn’t that expensive”. But compared to most of the country, what you get for those prices in London is a lot less than what you get for those prices elsewhere. The amount of money a friend spent on a Twickenham end-of-terrace would buy you a large detached house verging on a mansion anywhere else in the UK.

KEY points

  • Unsurprisingly, London is one of the most expensive cities in the World.
  • Despite high costs for nearly everything, professionals may find London to be a smart option due to the high salaries. 
  • Rent and travel expenses are some of the most significant bills for most Londoners. 
  • Due to England being geographically removed from the rest of the World, goods are imported and pay the relevant increase in price.


Unfortunately, finding an affordable place to live in London isn’t easy. Outside of housing costs, London also ranks high in terms of food, clothing, and transportation costs.

Affordability, ultimately, comes down to income and lifestyle. It makes an enormous difference whether a person is a student or an established professional. And retirees face distinctive costs than those in their 20s and 30s. London is never going to be mistaken for a cheap city, but expenses are relative depending on individual circumstances.

Top 10 of the World’s most expensive cities in the World

Including Ashgabat and Hong Kong, eight out of the top 10 of the World’s most expensive cities for expatriates are in Asia. The others include Tokyo (2), Singapore (3), Seoul (4), Shanghai (6), Beijing (8) and Shenzhen (10).

Non-Asian cities on the top 10 rankings include New York (9) and Zurich (5). New York has become more expensive (it was 13th), while Zurich is just one of several Swiss cities leading the Europe camp. Others include Bern and Geneva.

London Keeps Its Shine

Although the expense of the Swiss franc means the cities of Switzerland are the most expensive in Europe, in the UK the reverse is true. Where the cost of living has been made higher by the rising value of the pound. 

London remains the most expensive city in the UK, but it’s fallen from 19th to 23rd, four points.

Given a choice of living somewhere which is expensive and politically unstable or somewhere that is expensive and with a high quality of life, which would you chose?

It is no wonder so many migrants from African, and Middle Eastern countries are heading to Europe’s capitals. London has also seen a surge of applications from wealthy Chinese wanting to live here. And, if the current unrest in Hong Kong continues, they might join in too.