Private Rents

Median Monthly Rent for Private 2-Bed Properties (2020)

London's private rental market is large and complex, with rent forming a large part of the the cost of living for many Londoners. How does rent vary across the city, and have there been any changes across the last year, particularly as lockdown and social restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic may have made some rental areas less attractive and some more so?

Rents often parallel house prices as landlords seek to offset mortgage costs and maximise their profits, so the characteristic 'prime central London' of super-expensive apartments in much of Zone 1 are replicated in high rents, while rates fall moving away from the accessible centre towards less well connected suburbs.

But there are some anomalies as the map above of median monthly rents charged on private 2-bed properties by postcode district shows. Hotspots for rental prices in outer London include IG7 which covers Chigwell (mainly outside of Greater London but with a small part inside), E20 (the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park) with its post-games apartment complexes, and E16 (Thames-side Newham) which has also seen much apartment building recently. Hayes in west London is also a region of higher rents than its surrounding areas, possibly due to the proximity of Heathrow Airport.

N.B. Some areas, including the very centre of London (WC and EC postcodes) have no data, as these areas have relatively few private 2-bed properties available for residential rent.

Change in Median Monthly Rent for 2-Bed Private Properties (2019-2020)


The COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on pubs, restaurants, nightlife and tourist attractions, has been keenly felt in London. In particular, inner city apartments with very limited outside space compensated by easy access to facilities have become less attractive as people have had to spend more time at home. However, London doesn't (yet) appear to be seeing a more general fall in rents.

N.B. the data is looking across reported rents for 2020 as a whole, so includes pre-COVID-19 rents from January/February, as well as during the lockdowns and social restrictions from March onwards.

The map above showing change in the median monthly rents for 2-bed private properties does show the inner city typically falling but it is counterbalanced by rises in rents in the more spacious suburbs which are more likely to have private garden space.

Notable outliers to the inner fall/outer rise pattern include E20 (the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London) which has seen a median £300/month fall in rents between 2019 and 2020. Despite this, the first map shows it remains more expensive than its surrounding areas. SE2 covering Abbey Wood in south east London has seen a large fall, possibly due to recent expectant rises fizzling out as the new Crossrail railway line which is due to start in this area offering a fast link to Canary Wharf and the City of London continues to be delayed.

The data used in these maps was published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) as a result of a Freedom of Information Request by the Greater London Authority ('City Hall') which regularly publishes the data as an interactive map. The data shown on both maps covers January to December 2020, the comparison map comparing with data from January to December 2019. Postcode districts with data on less than 10 private rents for two-bed properties, do not have their data published, and are shown as blank on the maps above. Postcode districts are from the UK Postcode Polygons project which uses OS Open Data, contains Ordnance Survey and Royal Mail data © Crown copyright and database right 2020.