UK housing
Stepping up to a family home for renters in London is becoming impossible for many as housing costs soar beyond what is affordableiStock

Londoners who rent and want to start a family face a "harsh reality" because of the city's rapid increase in housing costs, according to research by Property Partner.

The property crowdsourcing platform said the average London rent on a three bedroom house, £2,460, would eat into almost 56% of the combined monthly salary of a couple who work full-time and take home the median earnings — even before any other costs, such as childcare. Over a year, rent would cost £29,520 of the couple's income.

Even in the cheapest borough, Bexley, the average monthly rent on a three-bed house, £1,311, consumes nearly 30% of a median-earning couple's annual income. Over a year, that's £15,732. The research is based on data from Zoopla and the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

"Those unable to buy but hoping to start a family and move up the rental ladder may just be able to make ends meet in outer London boroughs," said Dan Gandesha, CEO of Property Partner. "But the harsh reality is that they'll be forced to bring up their children in a flat rather than a house.

"Although everyone knows Kensington and Chelsea, and Westminster, are totally out of reach on an average London salary, the surprise comes with Camden and Islington too. The age of the so-called second-stepper renter has not arrived. In fact at this rate, it looks like it may never come.

"Another sobering thought is that our research assumes both partners are in full-time employment and earning the average London salary. The figures do not take into account that if a couple have one or two children, the costs of childcare and household bills would make meeting the monthly rent unachievable."

Rents and house prices have risen sharply in London amid a serious housing shortage in the city. Around half the 50,000 new units needed a year are currently being delivered.

BoroughAverage rent for 1 bed flatRent as a % of combined salary for 1 bed flatAverage rent for 2 bed flatRent as a % of combined salary for 2 bed flatAverage rent for 3 bed houseRent as a % of combined salary for 3 bed house
Bexley£75317.05%£1,05223.81%£1,31129.68%
Havering£88219.97%£1,13225.63%£1,41732.08%
Sutton£90620.51%£1,20327.23%£1,77640.20%
Barking and Dagenham£95121.53%£1,20527.28%£1,48433.59%
Bromley£88520.03%£1,29229.25%£1,56935.52%
Croydon£98122.21%£1,29329.27%£1,59836.17%
Redbridge£96521.85%£1,32029.88%£1,66737.74%
Waltham Forest£1,06324.06%£1,33730.27%£1,79540.63%
Enfield£97322.03%£1,36630.92%£1,76339.91%
Hillingdon£94821.46%£1,36630.92%£1,60136.24%
Harrow£1,02823.27%£1,43632.51%£1,76139.86%
Lewisham£1,06724.15%£1,49033.73%£1,88042.56%
Kingston upon Thames£1,12725.51%£1,56035.31%£1,90143.03%
Barnet£1,16726.42%£1,57335.61%£2,08447.18%
Greenwich£1,21127.41%£1,59336.06%£1,89342.85%
Haringey£1,19327.01%£1,61436.54%£2,06046.63%
Newham£1,23928.05%£1,66837.76%£1,97344.66%
Brent£1,24928.27%£1,68538.14%£2,21150.05%
Hounslow£1,20427.26%£1,70638.62%£2,03646.09%
Merton£1,32529.99%£1,79040.52%£2,33552.86%
Ealing£1,28929.18%£1,81241.02%£2,09847.49%
Richmond upon Thames£1,47033.28%£1,93243.74%£2,59258.68%
Lambeth£1,48533.62%£2,09947.52%£2,32552.63%
Wandsworth£1,48033.50%£2,15248.72%£2,59158.65%
Hackney£1,60036.22%£2,16749.06%£2,81163.63%
Southwark£1,58935.97%£2,19449.67%£2,60859.04%
Islington£1,73839.34%£2,35553.31%£3,46178.35%
Hammersmith and Fulham£1,69538.37%£2,38954.08%£2,88765.35%
Tower Hamlets£1,43932.58%£2,39954.31%£2,43755.17%
Camden£1,81441.06%£2,73861.98%£5,383121.86%
Westminster£2,60258.90%£3,86487.47%£5,978135.33%
Kensington and Chelsea£2,63459.63%£4,05991.89%£7,434168.29%
London average£1,31129.68%£1,83941.63%£2,46055.69%

Source: Property Partner research