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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Greg Pitcher

Revealed: the five cheapest postcodes to rent a room in London right now

As the chronic housing shortage and soaring interest rates continue to drive up rents in London, finding an affordable place to live is getting ever harder.

The latest data from flatshare portal SpareRoom shows that room rents of £1,000-per-month or more are fast becoming the norm in the capital.

However, pockets of relative affordability do remain, with five postcodes still offering typical rents under £775 per month — including utility bills — in the third quarter of this year.

But where are the cheapest places to rent in London and how far do you need to go to find a room for £800 or less?

Upper and Lower Edmonton (N18 and N9)

Angel Gardens, Edmonton (Alamy Stock Photo)

A slice of north London roughly bordered by the A10 to the west and the William Girling Reservoir to the east, between Meridian Water and Ponders End train stations, contains the capital's two cheapest postcodes for room rent.

Representing Upper and Lower Edmonton respectively, N18 and N9 are the districts to head for if you're looking for the smallest monthly bills in the city.

Although lacking in National Rail and Tube links, the area does have London Overground stations at Silver Street and Edmonton Green.

Ian Walters, local branch manager at estate agent Martin Brookes, adds that the nearby North Circular makes the district a canny choice for budget-conscious commuters with cars.

Edmonton also contains the historic Latymer grammar school, the popular Pymmes Park and a large shopping centre, as well as neighbouring the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, home of Premier League high-flyers Spurs.

Walters says N18 has a proliferation of Victorian terraced homes commonly turned into house-shares or rented by couples, while N9 contains more interwar properties suited to families.

"Edmonton is a buy-to-let area," he adds. "A lot of properties here are tenanted."

SpareRoom's latest figures show the average room cost £755 per month in N18 in the third quarter of 2023, while a typical place in a house-share in N9 was just £10 more expensive each payday.

Lee (SE12)

Almshouses on Lee High Road (Alamy Stock Photo)

The next cheapest postcode to rent a room in the capital is SE12, which covers a chunk of south-east London known as Lee.

Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward describes the area as "a well-kept secret" at the heart of Lewisham.

"It’s an area rich with history and a good selection of Victorian housing stock," says the estate agent. "A range of residents’ groups dedicated to preserving the area’s charms point to a community feel that is hard to manufacture."

A number of sports grounds and leisure clubs can be found to the north of SE12, which is walking distance from Blackheath and its own green spaces.

Lee train station lies to the north of the district, while Grove Park station is at the south and the A205 South Circular runs through its heart.

Average room rent stands at £766 per month in the latest SpareRoom data.

Chingford (E4)

St Peter and St Paul church in Chingford (Alamy Stock Photo)

To the east of Edmonton, across the Lee Valley Reservoirs, is Chingford, where the fourth most affordable postcode for house-sharers can be found.

The E4 district was once part of Essex and includes locally famous Ridgeway Rovers Football Club, which launched the careers of east London luminaries David Beckham and Harry Kane.

Chingford also serves as a gateway to Epping Forest, with its thousands of acres of sprawling woodland. Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge, a 480-year-old grandstand used by King Henry VIII to survey deer in the forest, is within the postcode.

Close to the M25 and M11, the district is handily placed for any renters looking to head out of the capital by road. Chingford Station has Overground links to Liverpool Street.

Property search portal PlaceBuzz describes the area as family-friendly, saying it has a "selection of larger semi-detached and detached Edwardian houses" as well as "very good" schools and plenty of outside space.

It cost an average of £768 per month to rent a room in E4 last quarter, according to SpareRoom.

Abbey Wood (SE2)

(Daniel Lynch)

It is perhaps surprising to see a postcode containing an Elizabeth Line station among the five cheapest parts of the capital for renters.

But SE2, centred on the Abbey Wood Crossrail stop, typically set house-sharers back £770 in the three months to September this year, according to SpareRoom.

Of course, the area has plenty going for it beyond super-speedy connections to central London. A significant chunk of its south-east corner is covered by the Lesnes Abbey Woods, while its northern boundary is close to the Thames.

There are also a number of schools in SE2 although shopping and nightlife options are relatively limited in this predominately residential district.

Estate agent Ludlow Thompson says Abbey Wood suits young families and contains "small, attractive Victorian housing" as well as 1930s properties and larger homes near Bostall Hill.

As with all London's affordable hotspots, don't expect rents to stay (relatively) low in Abbey Wood for long. Neighbouring Thamesmead was among those neighbourhoods with the fastest growing rents last quarter, seeing a 36 per cent rise in a year.

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