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Can we continue to live in London? 

Living in London presents opportunities, challenges and difficulties for the people who call this city their home. The soaring cost of living, specifically in regards to housing, has become a significant concern. London has experienced a notable increase in rents over the past year, with tenants witnessing a surge of 6.8% in the 12 months leading up to October 2023. This marks the highest annual rate since the Office for National Statistics (ONS) began tracking London rents in 2006. This trend has resulted in renters allocating a larger share of their income to cover housing expenses. According to the English Housing Survey, private renters, on average, dedicate approximately one-third of their household income to rent, with this figure escalating to 41% in London. As a result, some people are forced to seek more affordable housing options on the outskirts of the city. This phenomenon is called being “priced out”.

Being “priced out” of London means that the cost of living in the city, especially for things like housing, has become so high that many people find it difficult to afford. This situation forces some Londoners, especially those with lower incomes, to move to the outskirts or even different areas altogether where living costs are more manageable. The effect of being priced out is that it can lead to a lack of diversity in different neighbourhoods, as only those with higher incomes can afford to live in certain areas. It also means that people might have to travel longer distances to work or face challenges in accessing the opportunities and amenities that the city offers. According to Rightmove data, it appears that 42% of renters are currently considering relocating from their current city, a notable increase from the 37% reported last year and 28% observed in February 2022.

Once-affordable areas for numerous young adults are now becoming inaccessible, resulting in cities with a diminishing mix of both young and old, affluent and economically challenged residents. As the upcoming general election approaches, housing is gaining prominence on the political agenda due to families leaving, causing issues such as school closures and worries about a shortage of workers. Concurrently, suburbs and commuter towns are grappling with an influx of families who have been priced out of other areas. In Hackney, for example, schools are being shut down and merged with neighbouring schools because there are simply not enough families and students in the area due to the exorbitant rent prices that families simply cannot afford.

There’s an alarming trend where Londoners, who built communities, told stories, and came together being ripped apart because of the cost of living crisis. Being priced out of London can have devastating social and economic impacts on individuals and communities.