Why Is It So Expensive To Build In London?

Ever wonder why it costs so much more to build in London compared any other city in the world? The video above from The Economist explains why.

A few of the reasons why London is the most expensive include:

  • Tunnels: London has more tunnels, including sewers, the Tube and Mail Rail, compared to other cities.
  • Bombs: There are still a worryingly large number of unexploded World War 2 bombs scattered all over London.
  • Archaeology: The Roman City of Londinium was founded almost 2,000 years ago and has been inhabited off and on ever since. Most major projects in the City require an archaeological dig as part of the building process.
  • Streets: Narrow streets make it difficult to access building sites and also build buildings with standard 90 degree angles.
  • The Planning System: To preserve London’s historical character, different levels of government have all sorts of planning rules. These can include anything from conservation areas that specify what colour your front door has to be, to protected views of London’s major sights such as St. Paul’s and The Tower of London. Each restriction adds just that little bit more to the cost.

Despite the high costs I think they’re worth the price of living in London. Given that there doesn’t seem to be any shortage of new buildings going up, I’d say those doing the building agree.

You can read the full analysis on The Economist website here.