How to buy a house in London (2023)

How to find and buy property for sale in London, whether you want to buy a house in London’s Canary Wharf with a postcard view, or need help to buy London properties in some of the quieter, leafy suburbs.

With more than 8.6 million residents, London is a huge metropolis with residents from all over the world. As the hub for the UK’s economy, politics and culture, London attracts a great deal of Brits and foreigners, despite high costs of living and higher than average housing prices than the rest of the UK.

Buying UK property is likely to be one of the biggest investments of your life. This is particularly the case in London, where house prices are considerably higher. With so many people looking for accommodation in London, the housing market is extremely competitive.

This guide includes the following sections:

  • Property for sale in London – a good investment?
  • Property prices in London
  • Where to buy in London?
  • Central London
  • South London
  • North London
  • West London
  • East London
  • Real estate agents in London

Property for sale in London – a good investment?

The number of people renting and buying in London is currently split 50:50. However, research by Price Waterhouse Cooper forecasts that London will become a city of renters by 2025, with just 40% owning their homes. Much of this is due to younger Londoners being priced out of the market and forced to remain renting in London. This continued increase in the rental sector will inevitably mean there will be less houses for sale. Should you wish to buy-to-let, you shouldn’t have any issues finding tenants.

However, the London buying market is still an attractive prospect for those who have the resources; it has remained relatively stable over the past years, including post Brexit. The luxury end of the market (over £1 million) has slowed in the last year with changes to Stamp Duty. New transport-led regeneration and the government pledge in January 2016 to fund the construction of more affordable homes in London is helping boost availability in up-and-coming areas.


(Video) How To Buy a House UK 2022 (Start to Finish)

Property prices in London

The 32 London boroughs cover a huge area. Naturally, prices vary depending on where and the type of London property you buy. A large majority of property sales in more central boroughs are flats in London; many older buildings and new developments are divided into apartments for sale.

According to the Zoopla ZED-index, the average London house value in January 2017 is around £655,000, which has increased by 2.23% from the previous year. However, choosing central areas such as the City of Westminster yield an average price of £1,172,000; this is considerably more than if you bought a flat outside London’s central areas. Meanwhile, in other affluent areas like Chelsea and Kensington, expect your budget to exceed £2 million.

How to buy a house in London (1)

Although, if you want more space and don’t mind a longer commute into the city, there are bargains to be had further out and have the option of buying a house, most likely a terrace or semi-detached property with a garden. According to recent figures published by London estate agents Foxton’s, property can be bought under £500,000 in up-and-coming areas like Croydon and Bromley and these areas have generally benefited from improved transport links too.


Where to buy in London?

When you buy property in London, location is paramount; the amount of time it takes to travel to work or school can be significant. However, the good news is that London boasts a fantastic transport system with the London Underground, Overground, train, and bus services and major roads that work to make traveling in and around London as quick and simple as possible.

(Video) Buying a House in London for the Average Londoner

Naturally, if you’re living on your own or as a young couple, you’ll want to be close to the heart of the city. Alternatively, families may want to look further out to get the choice of larger properties and good schools.

To help you decide on the types of areas that might be best suited to your situation and budget, here are some of the best areas to buy in London. You can also read our guide on the best places to live in London.

Central London

The areas within Central London are often a preferred choice for young professionals, couples, and expats, who want close proximity to everything. If money’s no object and you’d rather minimize the commute, then your best bet is to buy an apartment in central London.

The prices in the high-end areas with luxury properties in traditional London townhouses or plush new-builds are in boroughs like Knightsbridge and Belgravia. Prices here come at a premium. But shop around and you could still find a reasonable price that yields a good return on investment.


South London

South of the River Thames offers a great variety of houses in London, from riverside London apartments on the Southbank and re-generated Battersea to three-story terraced-houses in areas like Clapham and Dulwich Village that are popular with young professionals and families alike.

(Video) How To Buy House in UK / Struggles We Faced & Tips For Buyers / UKவில் வீடு வாங்குவது எப்படி

Some up-and-coming areas in South London include Croydon, Wandsworth, Bromley, Peckham, and Lewisham. Here, your money goes much further, as many of these areas are currently experiencing good levels of growth.

How to buy a house in London (2)

In Croydon, properties are available for under £400,000, while Wandsworth and Lewisham average around £600-700,000. These areas all boast excellent transport links to the city and have a wide range of schools, local amenities, and parks. Often, you won’t even need to travel outside your borough.


North London

North London also has a great deal of boroughs close to central London, including Camden and Islington. Inevitably the rise in popularity has caused prices to go up considerably in these areas, but another increasingly popular area in North London with plenty to offer is Barnet.

As one of London’s largest boroughs, it is particularly suited to families. It has a great range of schools and excellent transport links into the center of London via underground or overground train, as well as close road links to the M25 and M1. It also has a great deal of public green spaces and a diverse and self-sufficient area full of amenities.

West London

Hammersmith and Fulham are two areas of West London close to the city that have seen a great deal of growth over recent years.

(Video) How To Buy A House UK - Whole Process Explained

However, other promising areas like Wembley are also proving to be a popular choice for buyers, with a series of new developments for an open-air shopping centre and housing attracting more buyers to the area. It has efficient transport links despite being in Zone 4 and is close to the M25 and M1 roads. It’s also just a short train ride to Heathrow Airport.

Other popular western London boroughs include Richmond, Twickenham, and Kingston upon Thames that offer large houses, pretty tree-lined streets and plenty of green areas for recreation and relaxation.

East London

Since the 2012 London Olympics, East London has undergone major redevelopment, particularly in areas such as Stratford and Newham. These areas have witnessed huge investment over the past decade.

However, it’s still possible to find a good value property in these areas with excellent links to Canary Wharf and central London, as the average house prices are typically under £400,000. This area does have one of the most ethnically diverse and young demographics in London. This often makes it a popular choice with aspiring young professionals and expats.

Real estate agents in London

With a fast-moving market, finding property in London can take some time.

They key is to do as much research on an area as possible and secure your finances in advance. Therefore, you know exactly what you can afford, what you want and can act fast. There’s very little time to hand around and dawdling and unnecessary delays could result in you losing the property you want.

There are thousands of independent estate agents operating across the capital for you to choose from. Most are local outfits that operate in specific parts of the city; you may need to do your research when it comes to finding the right estate agent for you. However, there are a growing number of online and regional agencies serving the whole of London, including:

(Video) How to buy an affordable home in London - BBC London

However, most estate agents use Rightmove and Zoopla to list their properties online, as well as on their website. This can be an invaluable resource during the initial search process.

Other useful resources for finding houses for sale in London


What salary do I need to afford a house in London? ›

You need to be earning a total of almost £60,000 a year to afford the average house in the UK.

Can a foreigner buy a house in London? ›

There are no legal restrictions on foreigners buying property in the UK, regardless of if you are a resident or not. You also don't need a visa for foreign investment in UK residential property.

What salary do I need to buy a house UK? ›

To get a mortgage of £400,000 the minimum you'll need to be earning is between £88,000 and £100,000 at 4-4.5 times your income.

Why it's so hard to buy a home in London? ›

Rising house prices, high rents and low salaries are to blame, according to Michael Edwards, a University College London lecturer and expert on the relationship between property markets and planning.

Is 10k enough to buy a house UK? ›

You need somewhere between £5,000 and £10,000 saved up as a deposit to buy a low-cost home, £10,000 to £20,000 for a property costing the UK average, and around £40,000 to £50,000 if you're buying in London or similarly high-priced areas.

What salary do you need for a 500k house UK? ›

It's the norm for lenders to offer a loan of 4.5 times annual salary. That means the salary needed for a £500,000 mortgage would sit around £110,000.

Can I afford a 300k house UK? ›

Generally speaking, you can borrow 4.5 times your combined household income. That means your annual earnings would need to be just over £66,000 to borrow £300k.

Can I get UK citizenship if I buy a house? ›

Can you get UK citizenship by buying property? Investors cannot rely on investment in UK property assets as the basis of an application for residency or citizenship.

Is it better to rent or buy London? ›

Is it cheaper to buy or rent your home in London? In the short term, it is often cheaper to rent in London. This is because the rent you pay is likely to be lower than your mortgage repayments, and the deposit on a rental property is significantly less than the initial costs of buying a home.

Can I live in the UK if I buy a house? ›

There are no legal restrictions on expats buying property in the UK. Foreigners and non-residents can also get a mortgage in the UK. However, those with less than two years of residency in the UK and without a job may face more stringent requirements and a bigger deposit.

Is London worth buying? ›

In short, yes! Buying a flat in London is a great investment for your money. With house prices continuously rising in the capital, it's an opportunity that shouldn't be missed. The market conditions have never been better to buy a property in London.

Can you use 40k to buy a house? ›

Can you use a 401(k) to buy a house? The short answer is yes, since it is your money. While there are no restrictions against using the funds in your account for anything you want, withdrawing funds from a 401(k) before age 59½ will incur a 10% early withdrawal penalty, as well as taxes.

How much savings do you need to buy a house UK? ›

Generally, you need to try to save at least 5% of the cost of the home you'd like to buy. For example, if you want to buy a home costing £150,000, you'll need to save at least £7,500 (5%) for the deposit.

Can I get a mortgage on 20k a year UK? ›

Can I get a mortgage on £20k a year? Earning a salary of £20k a year is a decent income and getting a mortgage on this wage is certainly possible.

What salary do you need for a 200k house UK? ›

So, for a £200,000 mortgage, that means yearly earnings of approximately £44,000 would be required. Given the average UK salary sat at £31,772 in 2021 that may seem a bit high but if you're buying jointly with someone, the £44,000 can be your collective earnings.

What salary do I need to afford a 250k house UK? ›

How much do you need to earn to get a £250,000 mortgage? Based on the typical income multiple used by most lenders – 4.5 times annual income – you'd need to earn £55,000 to be able to borrow this amount.

Are house prices in London falling 2022? ›

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) said it expects house prices to fall for the next two years, predicting a drop of 9% between now and autumn 2024. The cost of a mortgage, however, is likely to remain high. Currently rates are just above 6% – the highest since the financial crisis.

Where is the cheapest place to buy a house near London? ›

Top 10 cheapest boroughs in London 2022
  • Barking and Dagenham. The affordability of homes in this London borough makes it an ideal location for first-time buyers. ...
  • Croydon. ...
  • Haringey. ...
  • Enfield. ...
  • Sutton. ...
  • Lewisham. ...
  • Newham. ...
  • Greenwich.
14 May 2022

Why is London so unaffordable? ›

London becomes fourth most expensive city in the world: Rent, petrol and cooking oil drive cost of living. A perfect storm of rising inflation, the war in Ukraine and soaring house prices and rent, have turned London in to a pressure cooker of expense, making it the fourth most costly place to live in the world.

How much is a deposit do I need for a 120k house UK? ›

Some lenders can ask for 40% deposits, which means that if the property you wanted to buy was worth £120,000, you could need a £48,000 deposit. Applicants with a good credit history and high affordability are likely to have a wider range of lenders to choose from, potentially with more desirable deposit requirements.

How can I buy a house with low income UK? ›

Government Schemes
  1. Shared Ownership. You can buy a share of a home through a mortgage. Then rent the rest at a lower rate from the government or housing association.
  2. Help to Buy Equity Loans. First-time buyers looking to buy a newbuild home can borrow 20% of the home value as a loan from the government.

How much deposit do I need for a 150k house UK? ›

Broker fees -

So, for a £150,000 mortgage this could mean a deposit (based on the property value) between £8,000-£50,000. This type of fee will not apply to all lenders or products, but it's important to find out if it applies, as it can be between 1-2% of the total loan amount.

What is a good salary in the UK for a single person? ›

If you consider that people earning £2,500 to £3,000 gross per month (which equates to a gross salary of around £40K per annum) are thought to be getting a decent wage, then yes. Those earning a gross salary of £3,300 to £4,000 per month, are on a good salary by UK standards.

Who is eligible to buy a house in UK? ›

UK residents and citizens can buy property within the UK and foreign nationals can also buy property within the UK. There are no legal restrictions on expats or foreign nationals buying property.

How much is a 100K mortgage per month UK? ›

How much does a £100,000 mortgage cost per month? For purely example purposes, a £100,000 mortgage with a 25 year term and an interest rate of 2.75% would work out at £461 per month. However, the exact figure will depend on the interest-rate and mortgage term available from the lender you choose to deal with.

What salary do I need for a 450k house UK? ›

What you'll need to earn for a £450,000 mortgage depends on the income multiple a lender is willing to go to. It is common for banks to lend 4 times or 4.5 times your annual salary, which would mean you will need to earn between £100,000-£112,500 a year.

Can I get a mortgage with 30k salary UK? ›

The amount you can borrow will vary between lenders, but - assuming you pass affordability checks - most lenders allow you to borrow up to between 4.5 and 5.5 times your annual salary. That means that if you earn £30,000, you may be able to get a mortgage of around £150,000.

How much can I borrow on 80k salary? ›

On an annual income of $80,000 after-tax, a lender may offer you a mortgage of $1.75 million. This assumes that the applicant's credit score is at least average. It also assumes that there are no outstanding debts owed. The applicant's expenses are also zero.

What is the fastest way to get UK citizenship? ›

You can apply for citizenship if you've lived in the UK for 5 years and have had one of the following for 12 months: indefinite leave to remain in the UK. 'settled status' (also known as 'indefinite leave to remain under the EU Settlement Scheme')

How can I permanently live in the UK? ›

If you've lived in the UK for 5 years, you may be able to apply to stay permanently. Indefinite leave to remain is how you settle in the UK. It's also called 'settlement'. It gives you the right to live, work and study here for as long as you like, and apply for benefits if you're eligible.

Can I live in the UK without a visa? ›

Contrary to popular belief, you need a visa to move to the UK if you are an American citizen. The only exception to this is that if you are visiting with no long-term plans, you can stay in the UK without a visa for six months – but you cannot work during your visa-free stay.

Is buying a house now a good idea 2022? ›

Despite the pessimism some consumers feel, 2022 could be a great year to buy a home. However, it's a good idea to act quickly while market conditions are still favorable. For instance, if you get your initial mortgage approval soon, you can lock in interest rates before they go any higher.

Should I buy a house if I plan to move in 3 years UK? ›

If the answer is less than five years, you're probably better off renting. In general, it's best to buy when you have your eye on the horizon and you're thinking long-term. Experts largely agree that you shouldn't own unless you plan on staying in the home for at least five years.

Why is rent so hard in London? ›

Renters are returning to London in droves as offices and universities return in person. Interest rates are rising, which in turn, pushes mortgage rates up for landlords. And everyone is poorer because of a cost-of-living and energy crisis. All of this has made renting in London near impossible.

How long do I need to live in the UK to buy a house? ›

The general rule is that you need to live in the UK for three years if you want to get a UK mortgage. This gives you a three-year address history, which is the standard amount that is required to give you a reliable and traceable credit history.

Can I move to the UK if I have money? ›

If you are exceptionally talented or wealthy or have a familial connection to the UK, you can move to the UK without a job. Instead, you can apply for one of the following visas: UK Ancestry Visa.

Can I get visa if I buy a house in UK? ›

Some individuals have misconceptions regarding the various routes to residency in the UK. Purchasing a residential property in the UK will not give the investors or them residency in the UK.

What are the negatives of London? ›

Cons of moving to London
  • Expense: Cost of living is high, but salaries reflect this. ...
  • Crowds: London is busy and it can be jammed with tourists as well. ...
  • Property size: Homes are relatively small for Australians and New Zealanders. ...
  • Weather: It's changeable.
24 Mar 2022

Where should I buy my first London? ›

South London

Wandsworth was the highest ranking borough for first-time buyers, according to the metric. It has the highest employment rate in the capital, at 77pc, and the cheapest quartile of homes cost an average of £472,348.

When should I buy a house in London? ›

April or May are generally the best times to buy a house in the UK. There are usually more properties on the market as sellers emerge from winter and consider a move, while the market is generally more active once the weather starts to warm up and the clocks go forward.

Can I afford a 450k house? ›

To finance a 450k mortgage, you'll need to earn roughly $135,000 – $140,000 each year. We calculated the amount of money you'll need for a 450k mortgage based on a payment of 24% of your monthly income. Your monthly income should be around $11,500 in your instance. A 450k mortgage has a monthly payment of $2,769.

What is the best way to save for a house? ›

What to do next. Open a savings account if you don't already have one – go online or book an appointment at your bank or building society. Check whether you can reduce the deposit you need, for example, through a Help to Buy scheme or family support. Set up a regular payment into your savings account every month.

How much house can I afford based on my salary? ›

To calculate 'how much house can I afford,' a good rule of thumb is using the 28/36 rule, which states that you shouldn't spend more than 28% of your gross, or pre-tax, monthly income on home-related costs and no more than 36% on total debts, including your mortgage, credit cards and other loans, like auto and student ...

Can I buy a house with 5k deposit UK? ›

Government 95% mortgage guarantee scheme

In the Spring Budget 2021, the government announced a new 95% mortgage guarantee scheme. The scheme enables homebuyers to secure a mortgage with a 5% deposit, with the government underwriting 95% mortgages.

At what age should I own a house? ›

The best age to buy is when you can comfortably afford the payments, tackle any unexpected repairs, and live in the home long enough to cover the costs of buying and selling a home. Legally, you must be at least 18 in most states to buy a home.

Who qualifies as a first-time buyer? ›

Let's get the above answer out of the way first: If you are a single person who has never owned a home before anywhere in the world, you will be regarded as a bona fide first-time buyer. Same applies to couples where both partners have never previously bought a home.

How do you qualify as a first time home buyer UK? ›

You must be:
  1. 18 or older.
  2. a first-time buyer.
  3. able to get a mortgage for at least half the price of the home.
  4. buying the home as part of a household where total income is no more than £80,000 (or £90,000 if you live in London)

How can a single person afford a house in London? ›

Help to Buy for a single person

Help to Buy is a range of government schemes for first time buyers. One option is an equity loan, which is like those offered by developers, but it comes from the government. The scheme is designed to help you create a 20% deposit (40% in London), but you'll need to put down at least 5%.

Who qualifies as a first time home buyer UK? ›

A person is generally classified as a first-time-buyer if they're buying their only or main residence, and have never owned a freehold or have a leasehold interest in a residential property in the UK or abroad. A mortgage is a loan taken out to buy property or land.

How much deposit do I need for a first time home buyer UK? ›

In almost all cases, you will need a deposit of at least 5% of the property price. That said, the average for a first time buyer in the UK is around 15%. The bigger the deposit, the lower your mortgage interest rate and the smaller your monthly repayments.

What benefits do first-time buyers get UK? ›

The government's Help to Buy scheme is designed to help first-time buyers get a foot on the property ladder by allowing them to buy their first home with a mere 5% deposit. Buyers can borrow 20% of the property's price (or 40% if they live in London), interest-free for the first five years.

How much can a first-time buyer borrow UK? ›

The maximum amount you are able to borrow from a lender is based upon your annual salaried wage. Most commonly lenders allow you to lend between 4 and 4.5 times your annual salary – some will offer 5 times, some 6 and in very, very rare cases, 7 times the amount.

How much deposit do 1st time buyers need? ›

With a first-time buyer mortgage, you're likely to be looking for a 90% or 95% mortgage deal (meaning you'll need a 5% or 10% deposit saved).

How much is low income in London? ›

A broad definition of low household income, as suggested by the Government, applies to annual earnings less than 60% of the median UK household income. For London, this cut-off point is approximately £21,000[75].

What is the lowest salary you can live on in London? ›

A single person living in London would need about £50,000 a year; A couple should be able to get by with £60,000 a year; A family of four would need an average income of £70,000 to cover the cost of living in London.

How can I buy my first home in UK? ›

Most buyers will require a mortgage in order to purchase a home. You can typically borrow a multiple of your household income and this amount will be influenced by your credit score. Adding this sum to your deposit will give you an indication of your budget.

What documents do I need to buy a house in UK? ›

Essential house documents your solicitor should provide
  • Title Deeds. Normally you won't have title deeds – this is because the Land Registry records are now all digital. ...
  • Copy of the lease. ...
  • Management pack. ...
  • Report on title. ...
  • Property information form. ...
  • Fittings and contents form. ...
  • Warranty. ...
  • Stamp duty receipt.

How much deposit do I need for a house UK 2022? ›

To access low-cost deals, it is recommended that you aim for a minimum deposit of 20%. Interest rates will continue to fall in 5% LTV brackets until you have at least a 40% deposit. After that stage, you could have a 40% deposit or an 80% deposit, as an example, and you would have access to the same interest rates.

Can I buy a house with 10k deposit UK? ›

You may find that with this deposit you are able to get a mortgage and take your first step on the property ladder – perhaps through a scheme like Help to Buy. There are also mortgage providers like Ocean Finance that offer home loans designed for people with a less-than-perfect credit history.

How much deposit do I need for a 200k house UK? ›

The industry standard deposit requirements for a £200k mortgage is around 20 - 30%. Although there are a number of other factors affecting lender requirements, you should prepare to have a minimum of £40,000 set by if you want access to the most competitive rates.


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