Like with most things in life, a little research can go a long way to helping ensure you land on your feet. As well as gaining an insight into the UK employment market, it also helps to understand just how much it will cost to live in the UK, as well as knowing whereabouts in London to look for your first flat.
Many people are unpleasantly surprised at the cost of living in the UK. In a recent worldwide survey, London was ranked as the world’s third most expensive city to live in. In contrast, Sydney, which is the highest Australian city on the list, came in at only 20th. But all is not lost.
Generally you are earning more money, so that balances out the cost of living. There are smart ways to save in the UK as well. myOE accounting team can help you maximise your earnings so that you get more in your back pocket.
Here are some examples of everyday prices in the UK. You can expect to pay about a third less if you are living outside of London. For accommodation in a shared flat rental (per month) in East London or South London, you’ll be paying about £400. In West London or North London, you can expect to pay £500. Your average weekly grocery bill will be about £60, with a pub meal costing about £7.50 and a restaurant meal costing about £18. For a pint of beer you’ll pay between £2.80 – £3.50 and a bottle of wine will cost you £8.
For more information on the cost of living, check out Work Gateways or Expat Forums.
As a general rule, we encourage you to bring sufficient funds to support yourself for up to two months while you search for employment. Many of the visa categories now have a maintenance requirement, which gives you a good idea about what you can expect to spend while waiting for the right job to come along – this should be between £1,600 – £2,800.
London is an endless series of interconnected neighborhoods and villages, each with its own distinct character, so choosing your location is very important.
If it’s imperative that you live in the most central and fashionable districts of London, the neighborhoods of Chelsea, Knightsbridge, Mayfair, Notting Hill, Soho, and South Kensington are the places to start. If you’re looking for more affordable (and less centrally located) housing but don’t want to sacrifice atmosphere, check out Battersea, Bayswater, Clapham, Fulham, Islington, and Maida Vale.
Regardless of whether you are interested in renting or buying in the UK, your first step in house hunting should be to contact an estate agent. With links to many estate agents and neighborhood descriptions Net Lettings and Gumtree a great places to start. Two invaluable resources for the London house-hunter are Where to Live in London and London Property Guide, both of which describe neighbourhoods, price ranges, and the London housing market in general. You can find them at major UK bookstores.
Outside of London, we also have quite a few consultants working in these areas which you might want to consider: