Can’t get a box in London? Try Londonderry

telephone box

6 Jan

Once upon a time “I can’t even afford a box in London” would have been an expression. Now? For generation rent – it’s just a fact.

A property listed on Zoopla recently has confirmed that, unless you can afford to spend £275,000 (25,000 more than the national average) you literally cannot afford a box in London. So what is generation rent to do? Move to Londonderry, apparently.

A property listing in London
A London box worth 275k

The estate agent who listed the Islington property says it could be the “smallest house in the world”. If you’re thinking “perhaps it’s deceptively spacious inside” you’d be wrong. High demand and a limited supply has meant that – in today’s London market – £275,000 will get you four walls and a bed levitating directly above your oven/front-door/shower.

A photograph from inside the London property
Here is the room from one angle.
Another photograph from inside the London property
And here it is from the other angle.

In fairness – it is beautifully decorated and makes brilliant use of the quite obviously limited space (not to mention, Islington is a highly desirable area). In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised if this property went for well above the asking price.

The fact remains however: if your budget is on par with the national average – you cannot afford a box in London.

So, where could ‘generation rent’ afford to buy?

Picking up and moving off to a new city isn’t a realistic solution for most – there’s jobs, friends, and family to consider. If you were willing though, recent research by ‘This is Money’ suggests that your best bets for affordable city living are between Stirling, Scotland or Londonderry, Derry.

These two cities have ‘property price to earnings’ ratios of around 3.30 – 3.60. That means the average houses in those areas cost 3.3 – 3.6 times as much as the average local earnings. Compare that to inner London’s 10.3, and packing up and pushing off begins to look very attractive indeed!


With a population of under 250,000 – London it ain’t. On the other hand: in London proper, a 4 bed detached house complete with private gym would probably cost you just a little more than £200,000!

A fully detatched property with a gated entrance
Photograph of the entrance from inside the property
A furnished living room
Modern looking kitchen with an island
Gym in the attic