Buying real estate in the UK?

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Buying a property in London: a complete guide

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property investment London

Yes, the analysis of London's property market is included in our pack

Wondering about buying a property in London? You're not alone!

Many people are captivated by London's cosmopolitan vibe and dream of owning an elegant townhouse or a modern city apartment there.

Would it be a profitable investment, though? Are property prices increasing in London? How much does it cost? Is it better to invest in Kensington or Shoreditch? And the taxes? Where are the best rental yields?

We've got it all sorted. No worries.

The Investropa team has extensively researched this market. Actually, we've compiled all our findings in one pack. Get it now.

In this article, get ready to receive valuable insights from us.

How is the property market in London?

Confused about the property market's status? Everyone has their views. We prefer data and statistics over opinions for accurate assessments.

Property types

In London, you can find various types of properties for sale, including apartments, houses, townhouses, and even some unique options like converted lofts or studio flats.

These properties can range from cozy one-bedroom apartments to spacious multi-bedroom houses, each offering different styles, sizes, and features.

Whether you're looking for a modern urban space or a more traditional home, London's property market offers a diverse selection to suit different preferences and budgets.

What's better: buy or rent?

(If you're purchasing for personal use and not for renting)

To buy or to rent? If London is your city of choice, this decision awaits you.

Obviously, it's better to buy if you are looking to build long-term wealth and secure a stable living environment in London.

To make a good decision, consider the property price-to-rent ratio. Use this metric to see how rental income can help you pay off the property over time.

According to Numbeo, the property price-to-rent ratio in London is around 28.76, which is above the world average.

This value shows that it would take you 29 long years of paying rents before you can own a property in London. However, if you rent for a long time, you won't own the property and won't save any money towards ownership.

Property prices in London

On average, according to the last data from Halifax and Bank of Scotland, purchasing a property in London should cost you around $13,800 per square meter.

Obviously, there is a significant spread. A flat in Mayfair might have a different price per square meter than a house in Kensington. We actually give you a more detailed breakdown in our pack for buying property in London and in the UK.

To give you a better idea, it is approximately 5 times more than in a city like Athens, Jakarta or Sofia.

Also, housing prices in London are higher (24%) than in Paris.

The most expensive neighbourhoods in London are probably Mayfair and Knightsbridge, while the cheapest are likely to be Tottenham and Barking.

London Property Price per Square Meter


First and foremost, we have to acknowledge that the United Kingdom remains, today, a very stable country. The last Fragile State Index that has been reported for this place is 40.6.

Keep this in view when pondering the viability of buying a property in in London.

Also, according to the IMF’s forecasts, the UK's economy is expected to soar by 6% in the coming 5 years, resulting in an average GDP growth rate of 1.2%.

If you're about to invest in real estate in London it's a good thing because, as the economy grows, people's incomes (usually) increase, motivating them to invest in real estate, which causes a rise in property demand and prices.

Also, in the UK, the average GDP per capita has changed by 0.5% over the last 5 years. The growth, although minimal, is still present.

However, if we look at the UBS Global Real Estate Bubble Index, the London property market is currently overvalued (the index is at 1.08, above 0.5 means overvaluation).

Looking for more updated data? We've done a big-picture study to find out if it's a good idea to purchase property in the UK right now.

Buying property in London

Buying real estate in London can be challenging due to the difficulty of obtaining reliable and up-to-date information throughout the process. That's why we have created the pack to buy property in London and in the UK.

Buying process

In our pack, we've explained the entire process of buying properties in a detailed way. We've pointed out the mistakes to steer clear of, shared tips for finding properties that give you the best returns, and provided information about taxes and necessary documents.

Now, we're giving you a simplified version of the buying process.

This is the step-by-step process to purchase a property in London:

  1. Save for a deposit and get mortgage pre-approval from a UK lender.
  2. Find a property within your budget and preferred London borough.
  3. Make an offer through your estate agent, using a standard OIEO (Offers in Excess of) or SSTC (Sold Subject to Contract) process.
  4. Negotiate terms with the seller, including fixtures and fittings that are usually included in London property sales.
  5. Instruct a solicitor who specializes in English property law to handle conveyancing and title checks.
  6. Conduct property surveys, like RICS HomeBuyer Report or Building Survey, to assess the property's condition.
  7. Finalize mortgage application with necessary documents like proof of income, identification, and address history.
  8. Exchange contracts with the seller, where you'll need to pay a 5-10% deposit to secure the sale.
  9. Transfer the deposit to your solicitor's client account, which must be a UK-regulated account.
  10. Complete Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) form and pay SDLT on the purchase price, if applicable.
  11. Fulfill all legal paperwork and Land Registry requirements to transfer ownership.
  12. Get the keys, and upon completion, the Land Registry will update records, officially making you the property owner in London.

Also, if you're not from the country, you might want to check our article on how to buy property as a foreigner in the UK.

Make a profitable investment in London

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buying property in London

Where to find a property

Start your property search in London by exploring these websites:

  • Zoopla - Find properties, check house prices, and get expert advice on buying, renting, and selling homes.
  • Rightmove - A property search platform in the UK, offering homes for sale and rent, house prices, and property news.
  • Find UK Property - Specialists in UK property for overseas buyers, UK expats, and buy-to-let investors. They offer low-cost houses with guaranteed rent and property management.
  • - The UK's comprehensive property search platform, connecting buyers and renters to over 566,000 properties and numerous estate and letting agents.
  • On the Market - A property search platform offering UK homes for sale and rent, featuring new properties before they appear on Rightmove or Zoopla.

Also, know that we have included contacts of real estate agencies, property lawyers, moving companies, expats communities and more in our pack for buying property in the UK.

What you can get

As mentioned before, the average price per sqm in London is $13,800. A 1-bedroom property of 60 square meters would cost approximately $828,000, and a 2-bedroom property of 85 square meters would be approximately $1,173,000.

However, the amount you pay for a property can be different based on its characteristics and where it's found.

Housing prices in London's top areas are usually more expensive. A house in Kensington could come to around $2,610,000, whereas a property in Chelsea might be priced at $1,470,000.

On the other hand, some places are more affordable. You may find a house in Barking for $1,060,000, or you might discover a property in Dagenham priced only at $870,000.

Find a more detailed price list in our full pack for buying property in the UK.

Risks and pitfalls

Here are specific pitfalls when buying property in London, UK:

  • Stamp Duty Land Tax: Hefty tax burden on property purchases over a certain threshold.
  • Conservation Areas: Restrictions on modifications or renovations due to preservation regulations.
  • Freehold vs. Leasehold: Many properties are leasehold, entailing ground rent and potential lease extension costs.
  • Council Tax Bands: Varying tax rates based on property valuation, impacting ongoing expenses.
  • Right to Buy: Tenants' right to purchase public housing, affecting property availability and pricing.
  • Flood Risk: Certain areas prone to flooding, requiring insurance and impacting property value.
  • Tube Noise: Proximity to underground lines may cause noise disturbances affecting living conditions.
  • Brexit Impacts: Economic uncertainties and visa requirements may influence the property market and investment outlook.

We don't want this to happen to you, so we have included a full checklist for your property investment in our pack of documents. Avoid these mistakes and save a lot of money.

real estate The United Kingdom

Everything you need to know is included in our United Kingdom Property Pack

Living in London

Life in London is vibrant and exciting, offering a wide range of cultural attractions, excellent transport links, and plenty of opportunities to purchase property.

Cost of living

The cost of living in London is fairly high, with rent prices and food costs being particularly expensive. However, with the amount of job opportunities available, it is still a popular destination for people from all over the world.

Here are some examples to better understand the cost of living in London:

  • Monthly rent for a chic apartment in the trendy Shoreditch neighborhood: £1,800-£3,000.
  • A pint of craft beer from a local London brewery (e.g., Beavertown or Camden Town Brewery): £5-£8.
  • Monthly transportation pass for zones 1-2, including Tube and buses: £120-£160.
  • A cup of traditional English breakfast tea at a local café: £2-£4.
  • Admission to the British Museum: Free (donation optional).
  • Monthly membership at a London-based boutique fitness studio or yoga studio: £80-£150.
  • Fresh produce from Borough Market for a week: £30-£50.
  • A bottle of traditional London Dry Gin (e.g., Beefeater or Tanqueray) from a liquor store: £15-£25.

Neighbourhoods and spots

Since we want to present information well, we made a table that shows the neighborhoods in London. For yields, prices and rents, check our property pack.

Neighborhood Description Strengths Weaknesses


Camden is known for its vibrant music and arts scene, with numerous live music venues and street markets.

Rich cultural diversity, lively atmosphere, and great nightlife.

Can be crowded and touristy, higher rent prices.

Notting Hill

Notting Hill is famous for its colorful houses, Portobello Road Market, and annual carnival.

Charming streets, diverse community, and a wide range of shops and cafes.

High property prices, busy during market days.


Shoreditch is a trendy area with a vibrant street art scene, trendy bars, and creative tech companies.

Hipster culture, great nightlife, and plenty of artistic events.

Can get crowded, gentrification concerns, some parts may feel too commercial.


Westminster is home to many iconic landmarks, including the Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace.

Rich history, central location, and close to major attractions.

Very touristy, expensive living costs.


Chelsea is an upscale neighborhood with elegant streets, boutique shops, and beautiful gardens.

High-end shopping, posh atmosphere, and safe environment.

Exorbitant property prices, limited affordable housing.


Greenwich is known for its maritime history, the Royal Observatory, and the stunning Greenwich Park.

Historical charm, scenic views, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Can feel distant from central London, limited nightlife options.

Life in London

The economy of London is one of the largest in the world, with a GDP of over $700 billion. It is the financial, business, and cultural capital of the UK, with a diverse range of sectors including finance, technology, media, and tourism.

Examining the IMF's data, London's GDP accounts for almost 29% of the UK's GDP. That's a good thing, cities with strong economies often offer a steady influx of job opportunities, making property ownership a wise investment.

What expats usually like the most about London is the diverse culture and the wide selection of activities and attractions. From world-class museums and galleries to vibrant nightlife and delicious cuisine, London offers something for everyone.

However, the crime rate index of Alanya remains high (with a value of 54). The most common crimes in London are burglary, theft, robbery, and violent crime.

A good point for a property investor - London has an extensive mass rapid transit system, known as the London Underground.

Access to healthcare in London is very good, with a Healthcare Index of 70. A strong healthcare infrastructure always improves the desirability of a location, which is a good thing for real estate.

Finally, it is worth noting that London has 5 universities ranked in the top 50 worldwide: Imperial College London, UCL, King’s College London, London School of Economics and Political Science a,d Queen Mary University of London.

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Renting out in London

For those aiming to buy property solely for renting out and earning income.


Tenant Profiles in London

According to the data reported by Wikipedia, the home ownership rate in the UK is 63%, which is not much.

It means that, if you decide to buy and rent out in London, there will be a lot of people who can become your potential tenants.

If you decide to buy and rent out to long-term tenants, you should target young professionals, students, families, and those relocating to London for work. You can also target short-term tourists, business travellers, and those on extended stays in London.

Here is a little summary table we've made for you.

Property type and area Profiles of potential tenants What they are looking for Expected monthly rent in $

Studio in Camden

Students, young professionals

Trendy area, nightlife

$1,000 - $2,500

Apartment in Chelsea

Upscale renters, expats

High-end living, luxury

$2,500 - $6,000

House in Notting Hill

Families, professionals

Charming neighborhood, parks

$3,000 - $8,000

Flat in Shoreditch

Young creatives, tech professionals

Hipster vibe, cafes

$1,200 - $3,000

1-Bedroom Apartment in Canary Wharf

Finance professionals, executives

Modern amenities, city views

$1,800 - $4,500

Penthouse in Mayfair

High-end renters, diplomats

Luxurious lifestyle, central location

$5,000 - $15,000

2-Bedroom Flat in Kensington

Small families, professionals

Elegant living, cultural attractions

$2,500 - $6,000

Rental yields

As of today, rental yields in London are within the 3-4% range. It's low. A good rental yield is typically considered to be around 7% or higher (you might know it already).

The best rental yields in London tend to be found in areas with high demand from tenants, such as those close to transport links and amenities. This is because these areas are attractive to tenants and landlords can command higher rental prices.

For further explanation and a more detailed breakdown, you can check the reports and analyses we have made.

Finally, be aware that rental incomes in London are taxed at 20%, which is rather good.


You could also decide to rent short-term to international students, tourists, business travellers, and people relocating to London. Additionally, you could rent to people who are visiting London for a short period of time for leisure or work-related reasons.

If you decide to go with that option, look for properties in areas like Shoreditch, Camden, and Islington, which are all popular tourist and business destinations with a lot of rental demand. Additionally, look for properties in the West End, which is a vibrant and bustling area with many entertainment and business venues.

You will have some competition though - there are around 58,000 Airbnb listings in London. The average daily rate stands around $234, which is quite high.

You have the opportunity to generate a nice additional income stream then. Based on feedback from online testimonials and data analytics platforms such as AirDNA, Guesty, and Inside Airbnb, people who offer short-term rentals in London can make around $3100 per month. Also, the average occupancy rate is estimated at 77%.

Is it worth buying a property in London, then?

Absolutely, buying a property in London is a great idea if you're in it for the long haul.

London offers a diverse range of properties, from trendy apartments to elegant houses, catering to various tastes and budgets. If you plan to settle down in this vibrant city and build wealth over time, owning a property can be a smart move.

The property price-to-rent ratio suggests that buying is financially advantageous in the long run compared to renting, as you'll be investing in your future. Plus, London's economy is expected to grow, which typically boosts property demand and prices.

However, there are some things to consider. London's property prices can be all over the map, with Mayfair and Knightsbridge being posh but pricey, while Tottenham and Barking offer more affordable options. The cost of living in London is high, but it's a hub of culture and job opportunities.

If you're thinking of renting out your property, you can earn income from it, especially if you target the right tenants like young professionals or students. But keep in mind that rental yields in London are usually around 3-4%, which might not be as high as you'd hope for. And competition from Airbnb listings is fierce.

So, in a nutshell, if you're looking for a long-term investment in a dynamic city, go for it.

London's property market has a lot to offer. Just make sure to do your homework, pick the right neighborhood, and consider factors like property taxes and market trends to make the most of your investment.

It's worth it if you're in it for the long run and ready to embrace the London lifestyle.

Is it worth buying real estate in London then?

When it comes to buying property in London, it's a clear "yes" for those with a long-term commitment and a solid financial foundation. London offers an array of property types and neighborhoods, making it an ideal choice for individuals or families planning to settle down and build wealth over time.

The property price-to-rent ratio indicates that buying is financially advantageous in the long run compared to renting, and with London's growing economy, property demand and prices are likely to rise. While property prices can be high, the diverse range of neighborhoods provides options for various budgets, ensuring that there's a place for everyone in this dynamic city. If you're ready to embrace the London lifestyle and are looking for a stable, long-term investment, buying property in London is a smart move.

However, for those seeking quick returns, higher rental yields, or with limited budgets, London's property market may not be the best fit. Property prices in upscale neighborhoods can be exorbitant, and the cost of living is high. Rental yields in London typically hover around 3-4%, which falls short of the expectations of investors seeking higher returns.

Additionally, competition from Airbnb listings is intense, making it challenging to stand out in the short-term rental market. So, while London offers tremendous opportunities, it's essential to align your goals, financial situation, and investment strategy with the realities of the London property market to make an informed decision.

Make sure you understand the real estate market in London

Don't rush into buying the wrong property in the UK. Sit, relax and read our guide to avoid costly mistakes and make the best investment possible.

real estate market London

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and does not imply endorsement or advice. While we strive for accuracy, we do not guarantee the completeness or reliability of the information, including text, images, links, or other elements in this material. Following the content and analyses presented here does not assure specific outcomes. For guidance tailored to your individual circumstances, it is recommended to consult with a professional, such as a lawyer, accountant, or business advisor.