Why Is London So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons) (2023)

Why Is London So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons) (1)

Whether you are traveling to London or thinking of moving there, you may be surprised at the cost.

London can be quite an expensive place to live, and some people are confused by this.

If you have been wondering why London is so expensive, there are some very strong reasons behind this.

We have come up with ten of the top reasons London is so expensive.

Reading this list will have you thinking a bit differently about the area, and it may help you understand why the costs are what they are.

Why Is London So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons)

1. Higher Wages

Why Is London So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons) (2)

People in London tend to make more money than those who are living in the United States.

When business owners need to pay people more money to work for them, the cost of the goods and services must also go up.

This, of course, has some positives and negatives.

People can make a living and survive in London because of the money they make at their jobs, yet it costs everyone else a bit more in the checkout line.

Labor is one of the highest costs that any business can have, and the labor costs in London are quite high.

Some businesses will outsource their work in order to help make sure that their pricing can remain in check at their London shops.

The higher wages will be a starting point for higher overall costs all around the London area.

The good news is that you can usually go a little lighter on the tips since the employees are already making a good amount of money.

2. High Sales Tax

Why Is London So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons) (3)

In addition to paying more for products because the wages are high, you will also pay a lot of taxes in the London area.

The tax in London is called the VAT, or the Value Added Tax.

This is part of the European Union, and it applies to goods and services that are purchased in the European Union.

The problem with the value-added tax is that it is a little over 15%.

This is considerably higher than the sales tax that people pay in certain states in the country.

Sometimes you may see items for sale broken down with the VAT added to the total price, but there are other times when you will not even know it is there.

You will simply notice that the pricing of everything in London seems inflated, and therefore, there must be some kind of a reason behind it.

Overall, the tax is a problem that cuts into those wages people are making.

(Video) 10 Reasons Why London is so Expensive

It’s difficult for those living in London to deal with, but it’s also something that is equal across the board.

3. Exchange

Why Is London So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons) (4)

In some countries, the currency is much stronger than the dollar that is used in the United States.

This is good for the people from those countries when they come to visit the US, but for those trying to visit London, it’s very difficult.

Essentially, the economy in the UK is quite strong, and it remains stronger than the United States at many times.

For every one dollar, you are going to get the equivalent of .72 pounds.

This will make things seem even more expensive for the Americans who are moving to or visiting the London area.

When your money does not go as far, and the pricing for things in that country is already higher, the country may get a bit too expensive.

The exchange rate is something that is worth considering anytime you travel.

If you want your money to go further, you are going to need to choose a country to visit that is weaker when compared with the American dollar.

When planning a vacation or a move, this is a crucial thing to consider.

Make sure that you calculate this into the cost of your trip to London.

Use an online tool to convert the prices of everything to the American dollar.

This will ensure that you aren’t preparing for an amount of money that will increase by more than 25% at the time of your travel.

4. Smaller Market Share

Why Is London So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons) (5)

London is not nearly as large as the United States.

This means that there is a much smaller market for the retail stores to go after.

They will have to compete harder to win the customers, and unfortunately, this competition can drive up prices.

There is usually quite a bit of advertising and promotion that goes into getting the business to increase in size and attract more customers.

With countries that have larger populations, retailers have an easier time surviving because their customer base is quite a bit stronger.

This larger market share would help London to decrease its overall costs, but there is just no room to expand.

The margins on the products sold, even in grocery stores, need to be higher because of the volume of product that is sold.

Some residents of London are going to purchase their goods elsewhere when possible to try and save money on the retail prices in the area.

For those who are visiting the area, it is harder to avoid these higher prices.

(Video) Why London is the most expensive city to build in

5. Inexperience with the Area

Why Is London So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons) (6)

Many people take a trip to London and come back and state that it was much more expensive than they had thought it would be.

This is very common, and part of it has to do with the inexperience of the tourists.

Locals know their way around the city, and they know where they can get fair pricing for food, goods, and services.

Inexperience with the area causes people to go after chains and products and hotels that they recognize and know from their time in the United States.

These areas usually have higher prices because they are essentially tourist traps.

If you want to avoid falling victim to this issue, then you will need to develop a bit of an understanding of the London area before you head there.

Talk to locals and ask them where the great deals are.

They will tell you that there are some local businesses that are going to be much fairer in pricing than you may have imagined.

In addition, there are ways to get around London using the bus system, which is considerably cheaper than cabs.

Tourists don’t think they can pick up or learn this system, yet it is not at all difficult.

This is just another reason to spend some time researching the areas you travel to prior to getting there.

6. Property Prices

Why Is London So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons) (7)

Just as we see in major metropolitan areas in the United States, people that are in London want to be focused on the very center of the city.

This area will have quite a bit of action and tourists will enjoy all that is going on.

The problem with this area is that this is where the property prices are going to be the highest.

When property prices are high, hotel prices are also higher.

In addition to the popularity of vacation rental properties, you will notice that they are also higher in the main part of the city.

This comes down to a difficult decision about where exactly you want to stay when you visit London.

Do you want to be in the heart of it all and enjoy everything there is to offer within walking distance, or are you fine with having to spend some time getting to the locations?

This really comes down to budget, but you can imagine that certain property prices throughout the country are going to make the area more or less expensive.

Overall prices for property in London are quite high, and they will likely not drop anytime soon.

This area is known for being high-end and impressive, and people simply expect that it will cost them more.

7. Transportation

Why Is London So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons) (8)

(Video) Why it's so hard to buy a home in London

We all have transportation costs in our lives.

Having to commute to work and school ends up costing quite a bit of money.

In London, the costs seem to be even higher than in other areas.

One of the reasons is that getting around London is a bit harder to do than getting around other areas in Europe.

Essentially, there are fewer roads, so you will be stuck in traffic a bit longer.

If you want to avoid this traffic by using the train rail system, you are going to deal with some very high fares.

The prices of the trains in London are quite a bit higher than in other areas, and it sometimes feels as though they are charging these rates because there are no other options.

People in London will talk about how difficult it is to get around and how expensive it is to try to afford these high transportation prices.

Between the VAT and the higher prices for retail and commuting to work, London becomes one of the hardest places to try and make it.

If you can afford to live in the heart of the city, you may be able to get away with walking from place to place.

Clearly, this will save you a lot of money, but it won’t be enough to make London a cheap place to live.

You will still have times when you need to travel, and that will end up costing you quite a bit of money.

8. Consumer Law

Why Is London So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons) (9)

When you are selling retail products in the United States, there are very strict rules and laws about the products and the way a customer must be treated.

You cannot misrepresent what you are selling, and you must sell only high-quality goods.

These same types of rules and regulations are not the norm in London.

In this area, you are not able to file class-action lawsuits, and that makes it much less difficult for consumers to get taken advantage of.

The people in London are used to this concept, and they have become very careful about what they buy and who they buy it from.

When it comes to tourists and new residents from out of the country, this can be a bit more difficult to manage.

It takes some time to work out these issues in the market, and you may find that you are overcharged several times before you can decipher a good and bad deal.

The bottom line is that, with no protection, prices can go higher and higher, and people don’t even understand that they are getting a bad deal.

9. Inequality

Why Is London So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons) (10)

In all areas of the world, there are some instances of inequality.

There are people who make a lot of money and those who hardly make any.

(Video) What It Costs To Live in London

However, in the London area, the population is mostly wealthy.

Some of the wealthiest people in the world live in the London area, and they seem to continue to keep getting wealthier.

This makes the London area very popular for luxury goods and services.

The area is well known to those who have high-paying jobs and like to travel and spend their money.

There is a bit of an uppity feeling to London.

You can tell that the people there have money, and they are not afraid to spend more and more to get the services that they want.

This makes the city more expensive as a whole.

If the people in London were made up of more middle class, then the pricing would likely drop quite a bit.

10. Food Costs

Why Is London So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons) (11)

Last but certainly not least on our list is the high price of food.

Whether you are going out to eat or eating at home, the price you pay for food is high in London.

In some grocery stores, you can pay close to $6.00 for a gallon of milk.

Trying to feed an entire family with prices like this will undoubtedly make you feel a bit broke.

Food costs in London are high because people make more money and are willing to pay for them.

The high pricing has quite a bit to do with the fact that London can be difficult to get in and around as well.

These restaurants and grocery stores have to go through quite a bit of work to be able to stock their shelves.

As soon as the food is in the store, then you are going to have to pay the high labor costs to have the shelves stocked for you.

Overall, the food costs are going to make London an expensive place to live and to visit.


The London area is known for being quite expensive.

There are things about living, traveling, eating, and entertainment that will make the London area one of your most expensive vacations.

If you are planning to go to the London area, make sure that you take into consideration the amount of money the dollar is worth against the pound.

This will likely have a significant impact on your travel budget, and it needs to be considered.

Ask locals about great places to enjoy in London and see if you can figure out ways to save money by asking around for the best deals.

Sometimes the local spots with the best products are going to end up saving you money in London.

(Video) Why Our Cities Are So Expensive

Stay away from big brand names, and you may have a bit of money left over when your trip is done.


Why has London become so expensive? ›

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.

Is London becoming too expensive? ›

London is getting too expensive, especially for students. Living in London is too expensive. Or at least that is what the Expat City Ranking 2022 is suggesting. The ranking is curated based on the annual Expat Insider survey by InterNations, the world's largest expat community with over 4.5 million members.

Why is cost of living in UK so expensive? ›

There are a number of reasons for this increase: Demand for oil and gas is pushing up energy prices worldwide. This means higher bills for householders, and for businesses. Shortages of many goods are causing supply problems and pushing up prices.

Do you think London is a cheap or expensive city? ›

London jumps up one place in the ranking of the most expensive cities in the world, overtaking Tokyo to become 4th, ECA International's (ECA) latest cost of living report reveals.

Why does London have high gas prices? ›

We don't have enough gas

The UK's gas storage levels are “historically low,” according to Ofgem chief executive Jonathan Brearley. We have just 10 terawatt hours (TWh) of gas, according to Gas Infrastructure Europe.

Why is rent so expensive in London? ›

Supply crunch

The problem is simple. There are too many renters chasing too few available homes. Jeremy Leaf, founder of Jeremy Leaf & Co, a real estate agency in north London, told CNN Business that the number of properties advertised on his site is down by as much as 40% compared to November last year.

What's the most expensive city in the world 2022? ›

So what are the most expensive cities in the world for international employees? Hong Kong tops Mercer's 2022 Cost of Living City Ranking, based on our latest research, followed by Zurich and Geneva, while Ankara closes the ranking at the 227th spot.

Is the UK more expensive than the US? ›

Although the latest statistics from the World Population Review rank the United States as a slightly more expensive country to live in than the UK, it is important to note that this is on average, and the cost of living varies widely across the USA.

Is the UK cheaper to live in than the US? ›

According to cost-of-living comparisons, the cost of living in the UK compared to the US is broadly equal, with the UK being slightly less expensive by some measures. Consumer prices (including rent) in the United Kingdom are almost 8% lower than in the United States.

Why is food more expensive in the UK? ›

“Prices were pushed up because of the significant input cost pressures faced by retailers due to rising commodity and energy prices and a tight labour market. Even the price of basic items went up, with the price of the humble cuppa rising, as teabags, milk and sugar all saw significant rises.

Is London or New York more expensive? ›

Cost of living in New York City (United States) is 22% more expensive than in London (United Kingdom)

Is it more expensive to live in London than the US? ›

Key Takeaways. Overall, the cost of living in the U.K. is 0.49% lower than in the United States. Rent overall is about 22.55% lower in the U.K. You would need $4,700 per month to finance a modest lifestyle in London, compared to $5,822 for the equivalent lifestyle in New York City.

Why is energy so expensive in UK? ›

First, around 85% of households use gas boilers to heat their homes, and around 40% of electricity is generated in gas fired power stations. Second, these are higher proportions than other European countries. Third, houses in the UK are poorly insulated compared to elsewhere on the continent.

Why is petrol so expensive in the UK compared to us? ›

The UK is mostly self-sufficient in terms of petrol but imports most of its diesel, meaning it is likely to see steeper price rises. Dr Amrita Sen, Director of Research at Energy Aspects, added that petrol prices could rise to around £2.40 a litre.

Why are gas prices higher in UK than US? ›

But gasoline in the UK is taxed much more than the levies on gasoline in the U.S., that's why British drivers pay much higher prices at the pump, as do most other motorists across Europe.

Why does London have a problem with housing? ›

Why is there a housing crisis? In recent decades, London has excelled at creating jobs and opportunities. But at the same time, we have failed to build the homes we need. Now a generation of Londoners cannot afford their rent and many are forced to live in overcrowded or unsuitable conditions.

Is London rent cheaper than NYC? ›

Cost of Living NYC vs London

Rent Prices in London are 30.45% lower than in New York, NY. Restaurant Prices in London are 13.79% lower than in New York, NY. Groceries Prices in London are 37.92% lower than in New York, NY.

What salary do you need to live comfortably in London? ›

Workers now say they need a salary of £49,300 to live comfortably. For those in London, a £65,000 wage is needed to combat the rising cost of living, a survey by recruitment firm Reed found.

Which is expensive city in USA? ›

San Francisco, California

The average home price is a staggering $1.5 million in San Francisco, according to the Cost of Living Index, and the median home value is the highest among the 11 most expensive cities in the U.S.

Which is the most beautiful city in the world? ›

1. Rome, Italy. At number one you voted Rome as the most beautiful city in the world. With its thousand-year-old buildings such as the Forum Romanum or the Colosseum, beautiful piazzas and world-class art – not to mention Vatican City – we are certainly not surprised.

What is the most expensive U.S. city to live in the world? ›

New York and Singapore have topped the list of the most expensive cities in the world in 2022, as global prices soar by more than 8%, making the cost of living in the world's leading cities even less affordable for ordinary people.

Is UK better than USA for living? ›

The UK is often considered a cheaper place to live. The cost of living in both countries is not the same and can vary depending on where people choose to live. It's also important to note that the average salary for someone in the US is significantly higher than what it would be in the UK due to taxes.

Can an American citizen live in the UK? ›

As an American citizen, moving from the US to the UK to travel, study, and live is permitted for up to six months at a time. However, you cannot work during this period. If you want to hold down a job, you'll have to have a suitable visa. There are UK work visas for just about every possible profession.

Is UK education better than USA? ›

UK education system offers you plenty of choices in the courses you can study. While, the degree courses in the US are rigid. The length of a degree course in the UK is less while the courses in the US are much longer.
Length and Types.
UG: 4 YearsUG: 3 Years
PG: 2 YearsPG: 1 Year
Ph.D.: 5-7 YearsPhD: 3 Years

How Long Can American stay in UK? ›

You can visit the UK as a Standard Visitor for tourism, business, study (courses up to 6 months) and other permitted activities. You can usually stay in the UK for up to 6 months. You might be able to apply to stay for longer in certain circumstances, for example to get medical treatment.

Is it easier to get a job in USA or UK? ›

In the UK you have more job opportunities, higher salaries, and a wider range in earnings. In the US there are fewer jobs, the pay is not as high, and only a few people earn above $35000.

Why would an American want to move to the UK? ›

American citizens move to the UK for many reasons, most commonly to join a partner or work. The UK appeals to expats because it's closer to other countries in Europe, it offers free health care to all residents (in addition to other state services), and there are plenty of job opportunities.

Why is cost of living so high? ›

A rapid increase in energy costs, particularly the wholesale price of gas, has been a key driver of the recent increases in inflation. Housing and household services (which include electricity and gas) and transport (which includes motor fuels) contributed to over half of annual CPIH inflation in July.

Why is food cheaper in England than us? ›

A mix of cutthroat competition and innovation helped keep UK prices among the cheapest globally for decades, with the average share of household spending on food in Britain well below its European neighbors.

Why is milk so expensive UK? ›

Part of the story with rising milk prices on supermarket shelves is the rising cost of producing the milk. Dairy farms have been facing large hikes in prices for their key costs – things like animal feed, fuel and electricity as well as fertiliser.

What is the biggest problem in London? ›

Air pollution is without a doubt among the most pressing environmental problems in London. The city is among the most polluted cities in the United Kingdom. The problem does not only affect central districts but rather the whole city and suburbs.

What are the problems with living in London? ›

The Cons of Living in London (Disadvantages of Living in London)
  • Expensive Rent. ...
  • London is Not the Cleanest. ...
  • It Can Get Crowded. ...
  • Bad Air Quality. ...
  • Safety is an Issue. ...
  • Super Touristy. ...
  • Hard to Get Reservations. ...
  • Space.
Sep 15, 2022

Why is living in London so good? ›

With restaurants, theatres, galleries, parks, gigs and traditional British pubs to be found on every corner, there's no shortage of places to socialise. London is home to the highest number of police officers in the country and is ranked as the 4th safest city in the UK to live in alone or with family.

Is London cleaner than New York? ›

New York and London are similar in many respects. They are both cosmopolitan cities, they're both expensive and they're both important centers of fashion. That being said, the extent of their differences is vast. For one, London is much cleaner than New York.

What US city is London comparable to? ›

While Boston fought hard to separate itself from British rule in the 18th century, the city undeniably reflects the charm and culture of London. Brick colonial homes along cobblestone streets, unique cuisine, and host of some of the world's greatest educational institutions offer a little taste of the city from home.

Is it cheaper to live in Texas or UK? ›

Cost of Living Comparison Between Dallas, TX and London

You would need around 6,501.3$ (5,247.6£) in London to maintain the same standard of life that you can have with 5,900.0$ in Dallas, TX (assuming you rent in both cities). This calculation uses our Cost of Living Plus Rent Index to compare cost of living.

What is the average rent in London? ›

The average rent in London (Q4 2022) is £935 pcm - up 22% year on year from an average of £768 in 2021.

Where is the cheapest place to live in the world? ›

Here are 10 of the cheapest countries to live and work this year, according to meaningful travelers like YOU.
  • Vietnam.
  • Costa Rica.
  • Bulgaria.
  • Mexico.
  • South Africa.
  • China.
  • South Korea.
  • Thailand.
Nov 11, 2022

Are houses cheaper in America than UK? ›

Property & Housing

It's also on average more expensive to buy a house in the UK or London versus the US. It's worth considering that London is the second most expensive city in the world to buy property, so comparisons between the exact areas you are moving to & from will certainly help give you a better idea.

Are London prices falling? ›

House prices are starting to fall in London's “hipster” neighbourhoods, where buyers tend to rely on large mortgages. Popular parts of north and east London have seen a 2.2pc drop in prices in the last three months of 2022, according to Savills estate agents' quarterly tracker of "prime" property prices.

Why do billionaires go to London? ›

It is the most preferred location by super-rich people to stay in. When it comes to expanding business wherever the company headquarters will be located will make a big difference. London has certain unique qualities that attracts billionaires globally, especially Indians.

Why is London so expensive to rent? ›

The average monthly rent for a room in London has shot up 17% since before the pandemic, driven by a surge in demand and a lack of supply.

Will London flat prices recover? ›

Some markets will outperform. We expect prices in prime central London to fall 3 per cent before flattening out in 2024, for example. Homes in prime central London will be more insulated from rising rates due to higher levels of affluence and housing equity as well as a broader base of returning international buyers.

How much are house prices in London 2022? ›

The average UK house price was £296,000 in October 2022, which is £33,000 higher than this time last year. The average UK house price annual percentage change was 12.6% in the year to October 2022, up from 9.9% in the year to September 2022.

Will house prices fall in London 2023? ›

For the UK, house prices are expected to fall 3.5% in 2023, after rising around 9.5% in 2022. Across Europe, S&P predicted that the housing market is likely to sag but not shake at its foundations, despite higher mortgage rates.

Why do rich people love London? ›

A chief reason London attracts the very rich is security. Nobody's going to be arrested, executed, imprisoned or have his or her fortune confiscated simply because of pique. Another factor is the successful stewardship of Boris Johnson, who has twice been elected London's mayor.

Is everyone in London rich? ›

London has the highest proportion of people living in low-income households of all regions in the UK, according to Department for Work and Pensions data. Across the capital, 28% of people are said to be “living in poverty” compared with the national average of 22%.

What is London famous for? ›

It is the largest metropolis in the United Kingdom, and it is also the country's economic, transportation, and cultural centre. In addition to its history, art, and politics, London is a popular tourist destination for its wide variety of museums, shops, restaurants, and sports teams.

What is London cost crisis? ›

The Institute for Government defines the “'cost of living crisis' as the fall in 'real' disposable incomes (adjusted for inflation and after taxes and benefits) that the UK has experienced since late 2021.”

Is it more expensive to live in NYC or London? ›

Cost of Living NYC vs London

These statistics from Numbeo.com that explain the major average and median differences in the cost of living between London and New York: Consumer Prices in London are 16.52% lower than in New York, NY (without rent) Rent Prices in London are 30.45% lower than in New York, NY.


1. BYD's profit increases by a very scary 1100%
(The Electric Viking)
2. Expensive London Penthouses: Just how expensive are they?
(Lap of Luxury)
3. Why is a pint of beer so expensive in London?
(London Live)
4. Rent crisis: why is renting so bad in the UK?
(Channel 4 News)
5. Why Is London So Expensive?
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Greg O'Connell

Last Updated: 03/13/2023

Views: 5739

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (42 voted)

Reviews: 89% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Greg O'Connell

Birthday: 1992-01-10

Address: Suite 517 2436 Jefferey Pass, Shanitaside, UT 27519

Phone: +2614651609714

Job: Education Developer

Hobby: Cooking, Gambling, Pottery, Shooting, Baseball, Singing, Snowboarding

Introduction: My name is Greg O'Connell, I am a delightful, colorful, talented, kind, lively, modern, tender person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.