Londoners: Stop whinging about astronomical rents. It's so much worse in these other cities

Jake Cordell
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Housing costs in London really aren't so bad, apparently
Housing costs in London really aren't so bad, apparently (Source: Getty)

Renters in London probably think they have good reason to feel hard done by.

House prices seem to be going one-way, while wages just aren't keeping up.

Map: How much you need to earn to live in every London postcode

But a new report, out today, from the Global Cities Business Alliance, shows that Londoners really don't have it so bad after all. Compared to the world's other top cities, the capital is decidedly middle of the pack when it comes to how bad housing costs really are.

Affordable housing

The average monthly rent in London is $1,430 (£997) according to the report. Eye-wateringly high, most would say.

San Franciscans, however, are paying twice that amount, while those living in New York, Hong Kong, and Boston are also shipping out more every month just for a place to call home.

Sure, you may cry. But San Francisco is full of billionaire entrepreneurs, New York is skewed by all those high rise penthouses and Abu Dhabi is fast becoming a playground for the world's rich and famous - it's not a fair comparison with London.

What about how much of our monthly income is going towards a house? That's the fact that really matters - how much of Londoners' hard-earned cash is actually theirs after handing over a wad on rent or mortgage payments every month?

Again, those looking for reason to complain will be disappointed. Housing eats up half of our earnings. It's a lot. But that's in the bottom half of the 15 global cities studied in the report. Not only do New Yorkers, Hong Kongers and San Franciscans spend more, but so do those living in Dubai, Mexico City and Shanghai.

In Beijing, the housing market has gone so out of control that average housing costs are actually more than the average wage.

Bubbling up

Nothing to justify getting worked up about yet. But what about how fast house prices are rising? We may not be paying more than those living in other cities, but surely London has been hit the worst by the outrageously steep increases in property costs over the last few years?

Wrong again.

London comes in just ninth out of the 15 cities for the change in housing costs since 2009.

Out in the sticks?

Ok, we aren't paying the most in the world for a place to live. But that's only because we aren't even really living in London, surely? Housing is only cheaper because we're sleeping so far out that we have to spend hours crushed into trains, tubes and buses just to get anywhere decent?


Londoners' commutes are also significantly shorter than some of the world's other major cities. City workers spend 76 minutes travelling to and from work every day. That's a little more than those in New York and Paris, but pales compared to the amount those in Shanghai, Beijing and Mexico City spend navigating public transport systems.

Something to think about next time you roll into a station and the wifi doesn't connect in time.

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