- Sam Cookney did the sums after becoming sick of rent prices in London
- He found it would be cheaper live in Spain and fly to his job in the City
- A four day commute from Europe worked out at £339 per-month cheaper
Rent in London is so high that one young professional has worked out it would be cheaper live in Barcelona and fly to work.
Social Media manager Sam Cookney, 30, wanted a less expensive way of travelling to his office near Liverpool Street station.
What he found was an unlikely solution: it would be more cost effective to relocate to the sun-kissed coast of north east Spain, more than 700 miles away.
Cheap alternative: Mr Cookney found the lack of council tax charges and low rent in Barcelona, above, meant it is cheaper to live there and fly to London
Mr Cookney said that a combination of cheap rent, travel and the lack of council tax charges in the Spanish city would more than undercut the high prices of travel cards living costs in the English capital.
He arrived at the extraordinary solution by doing sums based on property and travel websites.
Cost of living – Monthly comparison
- One bed flat, West Hampstead – £1,505
- Council tax – £75
- Zone 1-2 travel card – £116.60
TOTAL: £1,697 per month.
- Three bed flat, Les Corts, £580
- Council tax – £0
- Ryanair flight, metro – £778
TOTAL: £1,358 per month
A one-bedroom flat in West Hampstead would cost around £1,505, according to Zoopla.
He then added in council tax at approximately £75 and a zone 1-2 travelcard to get to his job in the City, which costs £116.80, making a total of £1,697.
Mr Cookney said: ‘I chose West Hampstead because I know and like the area, and it doesn’t seem a stretch to suggest that a young professional may afford to live there’
He then compared the prices to Barcelona where a three-bedroom flat, with three balconies, a stone’s throw away from the metro, in the ‘nice and safe’ area of Les Corts which costs £580 per month.
Mr Cookney added, ‘I used to live there, and being a fairly upmarket residential district, it’s a very decent and fair comparison to West Hampstead.
‘There are, of course, cheaper flats, but I was trying to compare apples with apples – even in spite of the three bedrooms.’
With rent obviously cheaper, Mr Cookney then considered travel.
He found that he could fly back and forth from Barcelona to Stansted via Ryanair nearly every day in November for £29 a trip.
He added £5 to get to from Barcelona’s el Prat airport and a £14 return to Liverpool Street, making £19 in total on land travel each day.
That’s fixed commuting costs of £48 a day, 4 days a week, for 4 weeks a month, which worked out at £778
Add on rent of £580 a month and the cost of living in Barcelona and commuting to London comes to £1,358 a month.
That’s £339 less than the cost of living in London and commuting from Zone 2.
Add that to the fact that he could live in a sunny city by the sea, and Mr Cookney said his findings were ‘beyond crazy’.
He said: ‘I could walk to my desk by 9:30am, with time for a Pret coffee and bacon and cheese croissant en route’
‘It’s just beyond crazy, and completely unsustainable’.
‘I feel like it’s reaching a tipping point. I’ve been discussing with friends this week, and several of us have said that we’re going to have to consider leaving London. The sums just don’t add up’
The only concession he had to make was that he could work from home for one day a week with flights of a weekend being far more pricey.
He said: ‘I thought at least it would require some poetic licence or dodgy sums
‘But the only assumption I’m making is that I work a four-day week in London, with a day at home (i.e. Barcelona).’