Published: 3rd June 2019
The UK rental market does not just mean “buy-to-let”, there is a significant “rent-a-room” market, which benefits both homeowners looking to ease the costs of being homeowners and people, especially younger people, who just need “a room of their own” rather than a whole property.
While renting a room is, indisputably, more affordable than renting a property in the same area, it is not as affordable as it used to be, according to the room rental index from Ideal Flatmate
There are several factors behind this increase one of the most obvious being the realities of Brexit coupled with the age-old law of supply and demand.
It is no secret that Brexit is acting as a brake on the UK property market, although the extent of its impact varies widely from one local market to another.
Nervousness about what a post-Brexit future will bring could be driving some people, especially young adults, to look for the most affordable accommodation they can possibly find and this increase in demand, rather ironically, pushes prices upwards.
It will be interesting to see the results for the second quarter of 2019 (as compared to 2018) as this may give an indication of whether the forthcoming ban on charging fees to tenants will also act to increase rental growth, as some people have suggested.
While that fact itself will probably come as no surprise to anybody, what may come as a surprise is that even the most affordable London borough has higher rents than any other area in the country.
In fact, some areas on the outskirts of London are more expensive than any other areas of the country, namely Enfield, Sutton and Kingston.
The most affordable parts of the Greater London area are Havering and Bexley, where rents are similar to the UK’s next-most-expensive area, which is Glasgow.
By contrast, the prime central London areas of Camden, Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster all charge rents which are far in advance of anything charged anywhere else in the country - except in The City, which, officially, has the highest rents in the UK, at an average of £1,167 per month.
The average rents charged in the “rent-a-room” market could make interesting (which is to say possibly slightly confusing) reading for anyone familiar with the residential buy-to-let market.
As previously mentioned, after London, the next-most-expensive part of the country is Glasgow, which at £588 per month is far ahead of Edinburgh at £525 per month.
In fact, Edinburgh is only at 9th place on the list (assuming you count the entirety of Greater London as one place).
Bournemouth, Cambridge, Leeds, Southampton, Oxford and Bristol all precede it on the list and it is followed by Portsmouth, Manchester, Leicester, Liverpool and Sheffield.
It is unlikely to be a coincidence that these places are all university cities; however a university alone does not guarantee rent rises. Aberdeen is also a well-known university city, in fact, it is one of the “big six” and yet rents here have actually fallen by 47%, to give a current average of only £266 per month.
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