Savills has recently named London as the world’s most expensive city in which to live and work. The firm calculated total housing and office rental costs, and found that accommodating the average Londoner costs £80,700 a year – 18% more expensive than it was in 2011. With alarming statistics like these, it’s no wonder companies are looking for cheaper workplace alternatives on the city’s fringe.
Improvements to transport infrastructure have significantly decreased travel times into central London, with further improvements expected when Crossrail opens in 2018. Affordable housing is also more readily available in many of these areas, making it easier for employers to recruit from the local labour base. And, office stock in areas like White City, Croydon, Stratford, Wembley and the Thames Valley offer occupiers rents that are, in some cases, 50% less expensive than many core inner London office markets.
Despite these obvious benefits, businesses still like the idea of being affiliated with prime London locations, meaning few have actually taken the plunge and decamped from inner London to the periphery of the Greater London ‘doughnut’. Options are broadening all the time however, thanks to the capital undergoing intense infrastructure improvement works in a relatively short period. As a result, the traditional inner London office core has expanded – many locations that were, historically, marginal have been brought into the centre. The ripple effect of this has seen locations on the outskirts becoming part of the inner doughnut.
Kings Cross is a prime example – once one of the most deprived parts of London, but with meticulous master-planning, improved public realm amenities and careful placemaking, the area has become incredibly sought-after. This detail is happening more and more on the margins of London – at Royal Docks, East Croydon and Nine Elms. With office vacancy rates in the City and the West End at an all-time low, it’s only a matter of time before businesses trade trendy locations in inner London for value-for-money office spaces in the outer doughnut