Very, obviously. But how expensive, roughly? I've tried to numbercrunch, borough by borough, to find out.
Suppose you're on the average London salary - that's about £28000 at present.
Suppose you're willing to pay out up to a third of your salary every month.
And suppose you're looking for a property with an average (median) rent.
Here's a map showing how many people earning an average salary would need to club together to pay the rent.
To live in Westminster requires four of you to flatshare to make the property affordable. The remainder of a central island stretching from Islington down to Wandsworth requires three people on an average salary to share. If you're hoping to live as a couple, anywhere else in London will do. But if you're single, or just fancy living by yourself, then these average properties are no longer affordable.
Maybe you should lower your sights. Don't aim for an average property, go for a lower quartile rent instead, that's three quarters of the way down the housing stock. And then the map changes.
To rent a smaller property, Westminster no longer requires four salaries coming in but three. Almost the whole of the rest of London is affordable to couples, or to two people willing to share. But if you're single, or just fancy living by yourself, only Barking & Dagenham, Havering and Bexley are affordable.
If you're a singleton and willing to increase the proportion of your salary paid on rent, say to 40%, then more of Outer London opens up. Specifically that'd be Hillingdon to the west, Enfield to the north, Newham and Redbridge to the east, Greenwich, Lewisham and Bromley to the southeast and Croydon and Sutton to the south. But inner London is essentially off limits for solo tenants unless they're wealthier than average, or willing to fritter away more than half of their hard earned salary on rent.
We're not all fortunate enough to earn as much as the average salary. What if, instead, you're on the London Living Wage? This currently amounts to £9.15 an hour, and I'm assuming you work a 38 hour week. My final map shows how many London Living Wage earners it takes to share a lower quartile property, i.e. not a very big one.
No borough in London is affordable if you're on the London Living Wage and have only one income coming in. Pair up with someone else and most of Outer London is available, bar a few of the more affluent boroughs like Barnet and Richmond. But inner London is again a no-go zone unless there are three of you... and this in a property that's very likely to have fewer than three bedrooms. As for the West End, essentially the poor can bugger off, unless four or them of are willing to cram together.
Welcome to London 2015, an increasingly overcrowded over-expensive city with insufficient housing stock and relentlessly rising rents. And a city in which, unless you've gained a toehold on the property ladder, it's increasingly untenable to live alone. The queue for your bathroom can only lengthen.