Space to breathe: How moving from London to Essex buys almost 3 times the living space for the same money

  • The average price of a square foot in London is about £863 vs £314 in Essex
  • In Kensington and Chelsea £500,000 buys you approximately 26 m2 (277 Sq Ft)
  • In Chelmsford, Essex, the same money would buy you 135 m² (1,453 Sq Ft)

London – 10 July, 2019:

Despite London house prices falling over the last year, the area remains the most expensive place in the UK to purchase a property at an average of approximately £471,504 (April 2019 – UK Land Registry).

Homebuyers looking to spend this much on a new property could have almost 3 times more space, on average, for the same money if they moved just outside London.

The most expensive location to buy in the UK is Kensington and Chelsea. Anyone looking here with a budget of half a million pounds can realistically only expect to buy a studio flat, or at best a small one-bedroom apartment.

But those who are prepared to buy further afield, could enjoy much more space and even, a smaller mortgage. For example, a new five bedroom home in Oaklands Hamlet, Chigwell, is currently on the market for £739,995. For that, you can enjoy 147 m² (1,577 Sq Ft) of living space over two floors and a garage.

Potential buyers in cheaper London boroughs would also benefit if they considered properties in the home counties. On average, people moving out of Southeast London, for example, can expect to have over double the space when they move to areas like Runwell and Chelmsford.

For roughly the same price as a 1-2 bedroom flat in Bromley, for example, they could buy a three-bedroom house in Beaulieu, Chelmsford, for £479,995 and enjoy 120 m² (1,296 Sq Ft) of space.

Recent statistics from Rightmove have also revealed that rising rents are making the capital prohibitively expensive - London families pay on average over £300 more a month compared to eight years ago. That means around a million private renters are now having to fork out £3,600 extra each year.

In addition to paying more, Londoners are also not always necessarily saving more time to get to work. It takes approximately 30 minutes to travel by train from Chelmsford station to Liverpool Street; around the same time it takes to travel on the tube from High Street Kensington to Liverpool Street.

The following tables show the significant financial gap between buying a property in London versus buying in Essex:

Central London Area

Cost/ ft²

Type of property for £0.5m

Kensington and Chelsea- £1,807- Studio flat

Westminster- £1,508- Studio flat

Camden- £1,176- 1 bed flat

Hammersmith and Fulham- £997- 1-2 bed flat

Islington- £904- 1-2 bed flat

Southwark- £816- 1-2 bed flat

Bexley- £392- 1-2 bed flat

Bromley- £471- 1-2 bed flat

Hackney- £795- 1-2 bed flat

Tower Hamlets- £794- 1-2 bed flat

Lambeth- £787- 1-2 bed flat

Lewisham- £585- 2 bed flat

Wandsworth- £557- 1-2 bed flat

Greenwich- £505 - 2 bed flat

Districts of Essex

Cost/ ft²

Type of property for £0.5m

Chelmsford- £344- 3-4 bed house

Braintree- £268- 3-4 bed house

Brentwood- £432- 3-4 bed house

Harlow- £308- 3-4 bed house

Epping Forest- £463- 3-4 bed house

Basildon- £311- 3-4 bed house

Castle Point- £291- 3-4 bed house

Rochford- £307- 3-4 bed house

Maldon- £271- 3-4 bed house

Uttlesford- £328- 3-4 bed house

Colchester- £255- 3-4 bed house

Tendring- £206- 3-4 bed house

Thurrock- £308- 3-4 bed house

Southend-on-Sea- £304- 3-4 bed house

Source: Figures taken from ONS website

Chris Bladon, Managing Director, Housebuilding (East), Countryside, says: “Given the significant extra value a property buyer can receive outside the capital, many are choosing to leave central London for a more relaxed life in Essex. Connections into London are constantly improving, giving people the opportunity to commute into work while also being able to enjoy the peace and tranquillity that the countryside can offer.”