The Graduates’ Guide to Where to Live in London

If you’ve just graduated and are planning to move to London – welcome! Contrary to media reports you won’t melt on the tube and the air won’t kill you.

However, the scare-stories about housing in London are partly true: finding somewhere to live in London can be difficult. Especially if you are on a budget.

For people moving to London for the first time, the property hunt is extra-daunting. But Find Properly – the only property portal to help people moving to London – is here with a handy guide!

The Most Popular Areas of London for Graduates

London is full of young people. Nearly 14% of Londoners are aged between 24 and 30. This is higher than the Great Britain average of 10%.

But young people in London are not evenly distributed throughout the city. Using the wonders of the National Census, the power of QGIS, and the joys of Google Maps, we plotted the most popular areas for people aged 24 to 30 on a map (below!).

Mapping where 24-30 year olds live in London

Mapping where 24-30 year olds live in London

The map above shows the areas where more than 20% of residents are aged 24-30. The areas are odd shapes because they follow ward boundaries, but largely make up Clapham, Brixton and Bow.

Clapham, Brixton and Bow – what’s the big deal?

We took a closer look at why these areas are so popular with young people:

Clapham Brixton Bow
Transport

OK
Northern Line, Overground and National Rail

OK
Northern Line, Victoria Line

OK
Central Line, District Line

Crime:

Above average
14 crimes/1000 residents per year

Above average
15 crimes/1000 residents per year

Above average
17 crimes/1000 residents per year

Nightlife

Very good
Lots of bars and clubs line Clapham High Street

Good
Some good clubs

Bad
…but near to the nightlife of Shoreditch

Parks/recreation

Good
Clapham Common and the river nearby

Bad
Not very near parks

Bad
Not very near parks

Average rent per person (3 people sharing)

£180pw
View Clapham prices

£165pw
View Brixton prices

£165pw
View Bow prices

Get searching!

Properties to rent in Clapham

Properties to rent in Brixton

Properties to rent in Bow

Transport and connectivity

All 3 areas have fairly good transport connections.

If you work west or south of the City (e.g Westminster, London Bridge), Brixton and Clapham are a ~20 minute tube or train ride away.

Bow is in between the City and Canary Wharf so is perfect for people who work in these areas.

Clapham Junction is the busiest station in the UK (apparently) and has good connections with South England (and Gatwick Airport).

Clapham Junction Station - Britain's busiest station!

Clapham Junction Station – Britain’s busiest station!

To check your commute time, use Find Properly. Simply enter your workplace (and your housemates’ if you wish), and we’ll show you the areas with a short commute time.

Not sure whether to cycle or use public transport? We can help with this too! Try our handy widget.

Crime

The three areas all have crime levels slightly above the London average. Don’t panic – London is a safe city, and therefore these areas are not dangerous!

As always, standard big-city precautions should be taken. Clutch your Prada handbag tightly, strap down the gold Rolex and don’t leave your iPhone unattended.

Nightlife

Both Clapham and Brixton have good nightlife, whilst Bow is near Shoreditch/Dalston/Hoxton which are popular nightspots.

Brixton Academy

Brixton Academy… looks sweaty

We’ve also made a map of the best nightlife and restaurant areas in London.

Parks and recreation

Clapham is blessed with a large common, which tends to get packed on the sunny weekends of the year (yes, both of them). Clapham is also near the river, and so is great for joggers/cyclists.

Whilst Brixton and Bow have less greenspace, both have plenty of gyms. And in London, larger parks are usually only a short tube ride away.

We wrote a whole blog post about where to live if greenspace is important.

Clapham Common on a sunny day - may be rainier when you visit

Clapham Common on a sunny day (it may be rainier when you visit)

Money money money!

Clapham is slightly more expensive than Bow and Brixton, at £180 vs £165. This is the weekly rent of a 3 bed property, shared by 3 people. Generally the larger the property, the cheaper it is per bedroom. Living alone is not a good idea unless you are minted and/or very antisocial.

As these prices are the average you will be able to find cheaper (or more expensive) places depending on your budget.

Remember to also budget for utilities (approx £50 per month per person) and council tax.

Be especially careful in Clapham about council tax. Clapham falls across 2 councils – Lambeth and Wandsworth. Council tax in Wandsworth is significantly lower than in Lambeth (i.e up to £400 a year less). Use the council tax filter in Find Properly to make sure you are in the right area of Clapham!

Ready to start your search?

Try to begin your search a month before you plan to move in. You need time to find the right place, and (just as importantly) one that is becoming vacant at the right time. Landlords hate vacant periods so there’s no point starting your search too early.

Set up a property alert. Good properties in London get snapped up very quickly, so make sure you’re the first to know.

If you are searching with friends, use Find Properly‘s shared list functionality. You can comment on and rate each others’ property choices, on a single shortlist. This will avoid super-long Facebook threads and make organising viewings a bit easier.

View as many properties as you can without going mad. This will give you a sense of the area and how much property you get for your money (probably not very much).

Start searching now: Clapham | Brixton | Bow

Some other areas to keep in mind

If you aren’t convinced by Brixton, Bow or Clapham, we’ve written some guides to other fantastic areas:

  1. Southwest London
  2. Hackney
  3. Clerkenwell
  4. Primrose Hill
  5. Chelsea

Questions or comments?

Please feel free to leave comments or questions below.

Or you can contact us via the feedback page on Find Properly.

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