A prosperity divide and neither rich nor poor seem happy

© Acmanley | Dreamstime.com - London Street Art Photo

Photo: © Acmanley | Dreamstime.com

The people of Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea and Camden are among the wealthiest on average in the UK, but money is not buying them happiness, as they are more miserable than many across the country.

These findings emerge in an index that looks at the combination of wealth and life satisfaction to indicate levels of prosperity. It suggests that 6 London boroughs (Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster, Wandsworth, Camden and the City of London) are the most prosperous in the country. But 4 others (Bexley, Greenwich, Brent and Croydon) are in the bottom 10 of 170 areas assessed.

The high prosperity scores for London boroughs are based largely on wealth not well-being. The Legatum Institute, a think tank that says that it is focused on promoting prosperity, put the index together. It used GDP per capita as a measure of wealth and the life satisfaction data collected by the Office for National Statistics.

Residents in Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster, Wandsworth, Camden and the City of London, enjoy an average income of £133,000. 15 of the top 20 areas in the UK for average earnings, including Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Newham, Lambeth, Southwark, Lewisham, Haringey and Islington, are in London. But the spread of wealth is not uniform across the capital and some boroughs come at the lower end of the table. Redbridge, Waltham Forest, Enfield and Barking and Dagenham have average earnings of £14,300.

What is common to all London boroughs however is the low level of life satisfaction. The happiest place in the UK according the ONS measure is the Outer Hebrides. Out of 170 areas the only London borough to squeeze into the top 50 is Bromley at 49 in the rankings.

Wealthy Hammersmith and Fulham and Kensington and Chelsea are down in the mid 80s and only 6 other boroughs (Ealing, Merton, Sutton, Kingston, Richmond and Hounslow) make it into the top 100.

While residents of Camden and the City of London come top for earnings they are in the bottom 10 when it comes to happiness, along with Croydon and Brent. Haringey and Islington folk also seem to be miserable – 11th from bottom in the life satisfaction rankings.

Source data

See also

Well-being and wealth – how South West London soars ahead of the rest

Pay rates underline gap between rich and poor boroughs

Welcome to the city of the super rich



Families face the biggest premiums for renting homes in the capital

terrace on hil-2The punishing premium on private rents in the capital is more severe for families who need 2 or 3 bedrooms. Rents for 1-bedroom properties are more than double in London but for those with children as well as themselves to house, a home may cost 150% more to rent.

Urbs analysed the latest data from the Valuation Agency Office, a body that advises the government on property prices, to look at the cost of different types of rental property in London.

We looked at median prices to iron out the highs and lows that affect averages.

Median Monthly Rental
London England
Room only £525 £341
Studio £850 £500
1 Bedroom £1,155 £525
2 Bedroom £1,400 £595
3 Bedroom £1,695 £675
4+ Bedroom £2,500 £1,175

The premium paid for renting in the capital is significant for all types but highest for medium size flats and houses.

Rental private premium

The most expensive region outside of London is the commuter area of the South East. Comparing the median rate for all properties the monthly cost in the South East is £779 but nearly double that at £1,350 in London.

But London itself see distinct variations with the highest median rate for all properties in Westminster, and only 4 boroughs – Sutton, Havering, Barking and Dagenham and Bexley, where it is below £1,000

Rental all prop map

Other data from the Office for National Statistics shows private rents continuing to rise. The Index of Private Housing Rental Prices, a quarterly index that tracks the prices paid for renting from private landlords shows a 4% rise between April and June compared to the same period last year.

Over a 10-year period prices in London have risen by 35% compared to 17% for the rest of England. The 4% rent inflation is a return to the higher levels of 2013 after less steep rises in 2014.

monthly rental

The last dip in rent inflation was in 2010. Since then prices have risen steadily with rises in London at least double the rate in the rest of England.

The affordability of property means home ownership is beyond the means of many in the capital and renting in the private sector is the only option. As previously reported by Urbs, there is a growing concern than many younger people will never be able to save enough for a deposit to buy a property in the capital and they are becoming a so-called ‘generation rent’.

Index of Private Housing Rental Prices

Valuation Office Agency

See also

Paying the rent takes up 72% of income for private tenants

Under 40s locked out of housing market destined to be “generation rent”

Urban chic or leafy charm? Inner city rentals catch up with affluent areas