cost of living reading

Cost of Living Comparison: London vs Reading

Reading, the county town of Berkshire, is just a 30 minute train journey away from London and shares many of the same conveniences that Londoners enjoy, at a fraction of the cost. In fact, the cost of living in Reading can be up to £1,000 a month cheaper.

In this guide we take a look at the cost of living in Reading compared to London and bring you the latest statistics between the two places to live.

The Overview

Taking the latest data and comparing the same standard of living, the cost to live in London vs Reading is £1,166.42 higher per month, breaking down as follows:

  • Rental prices in Reading are 47.08% lower than in London
  • Consumer prices in Reading are 9.41% lower than in London
  • Restaurant prices in Reading are 5.95% lower than in London
  • Local purchasing power in Reading is 40.43% higher than in London.

In fact, the only thing more expensive about living in Reading is in the cost of groceries, which are 1.09% higher than in London, and utilities. Gas, electricity and water for an 85 sq m apartment costs 29.74% more in Reading than it does in London.

riverside reading great place to live

Only half an hour by train from London, Reading is a cheaper place to live. Image via Wikimedia.

So, factoring in the short commute to London, why would anyone want to pay more to live in the capital?

Not convinced? Let’s dig in to this further.


The average cost of a standard monthly membership to a fitness club in Reading is £24.90 compared to £45.81 in London. A saving of £20.91 or 45.64%, you can almost afford to go twice as often!

Even things like the cost of a cinema ticket are lower in Reading with a ticket for a film on international release costing almost 20% less (£12.00 vs £9.70 per seat).


The average monthly childcare fees are in the region of £1,080 in London with similar provisions costing 5.24% less, saving £55 a month. Small beans across the board but it all adds up. Private schooling is even lower with annual fees being around 18% cheaper in Reading.

Property Prices

According to Right Move, the average cost of a home in London topped £607,000 last year with apartments (the main housing stock in London) being £537,000. In Reading, the average house price is just £417,153. That’s a staggering difference of £189,847!

Renting is just as cost effective in Reading with an average one bedroom flat costing £885 per month in the centre of town vs £1662 per month in the centre of London. Head to the outskirts of London for a better deal and this reduces to just £1,180…outside of Reading, this falls to £743.


Commuting in London is an expensive part of monthly wages and can cost upwards of £1500 per year using an Oyster Card for Zones 1-2. In Reading, average costs of travelcards are 57% lower and allow you access to neighbouring towns including Wokingham, Maidenhead, Winnersh and even Oxford.

Taxis are also cheaper with the average cost of a 1km journey being 30% lower in Reading and a one-hour wait being 25% lower.

cost of transport london vs reading

No underground in Reading but far cheaper transport costs. Image via Pixabay.

Running a car is cheaper in Reading without the need to pay the Congestion Charge and factoring in better miles to the gallon with less time spent idling in traffic. Yes, Reading does get congested during rush hours but not nearly as badly as Central London.

Groceries and Markets

As we said in the intro, the overall grocery bill in Reading is around 1% higher, but there are many ways in which costs are still lower in Reading.

  • A litre of milk is 24.13% lower whilst bread is 3.57% higher
  • A dozen eggs will be 11.87% lower with chicken being similar in price
  • A 1.5l bottle of water is 26% lower but a 0.5l bottle of beer being 11.63% higher

Bizarrely, being in the country, Reading charges more for its beef and cheese than in the capital (26.07% and 46.63% higher respectively).

cost of living reading (2)

Overall, a 1% increase in groceries should be scant reason to keep you in London. Image via Pixabay.

Average Salary

Okay, so it’s cheaper living in Reading than it is in London but surely you can earn more money in the city, right?


The average monthly salary after tax in London is £2,218 vs £2,308 in Reading. That 4% increase goes a lot further with a lower cost of living.

Quality of Living in Reading

We are going to let the stats speak for themselves here….

London Reading
Purchasing Power Index Moderate 78.56 High 109.9
Safety Index Moderate 52.58 High 64.19
Health Care Index High 68.01 High 78.78
Climate Index Very High 88.44 Very High 88.11
Cost of Living Index High 91.38 Moderate 83.12
Property Price to Income Ratio Very High 24.08 Moderate 8.27
Traffic Commute Time Index High 47.68 Low 33
Pollution Index Moderate 58.95 Low 23.26
Quality of Life Index Moderate 108.9 Very High 180

The Take Home? Reading or London?

There is no doubt, and no surprise, that living in Reading is cheaper than living in London and quality of life much better. The only motivating factors for staying in the capital come down to commuting times and a preference for city living. Granted, the commute to London from Reading takes you to Paddington and anyone working in Canary Wharf or the city could still face a lengthy journey but there are many benefits to living outside of London.

We have helped numerous families, couples and single professionals escape city living to enjoy the rural benefits of a life in Berkshire. If you want to join them and find out more about what the Thames Valley can offer you then contact Property Assistant today to get further information on your property search. Why not check out our area guides to the surrounding towns of Winnersh, Wokingham and Crowthorne.

Featured image via Pixabay and Wikipedia.

Unless stated, all facts and figures have been derived from the online comparison database, Numbeo.