The average cost of renting a room in the UK has increased by £15 pcm (3%) since this time last year, bringing the average monthly rent up to £583 across the UK, according to SpareRoom’s Q1 2019 Rental Index.
The company’s annual comparison of the rental market’s performance across the country found that while house prices are falling, rents are on the up in all regions of the UK.
Rents in London, Northern Ireland and the West Midlands have seen the largest jump of 4%. Despite its proximity to the capital, the South East has witnessed the lowest growth of just 2%, followed by the South West at 3%.
A closer look at the UK’s 50 largest towns and cities reveals that the highest increase in rental costs are in the north of England, with Lancashire’s Preston taking first place. Rents here have risen by 8% (£30) since last year, bringing the average rent to £378 pcm. York and Stockport follow with increases of 7% each.
At the other end of the spectrum, Southend-on-Sea, Aberdeen and West Bromwich sit at the bottom of the table with decreases of -5%, -3% and -3% respectively.
Oxford follows the capital as the UK’s second most expensive city, with average monthly rents of £572 – a modest 1% rise since last year. The university towns of Reading and Edinburgh place third and fourth, with average rents of £530 and £519 each. However, the cheapest rents can be found in Belfast (£312), Sunderland (319) and Middlesbrough (£327).
SpareRoom also detected an east-west divide in London, with many of the cheapest rents located east and south-east while the more expensive ones are found in the west and south-west. Unsurprisingly, central St Pauls (EC4) is the most expensive location to rent in at £1,336, despite costs dropping by -7% over the past year. This is closely followed by South Kensington/Knightsbridge (SW7 at £1,177) and the Strand/Holborn (WC2 at £1,157).
Nonetheless, those wanting to rent in London on a tighter budget can enjoy 17 areas in the city available for under £600, including Abbey Wood (£531), Manor Park (£541) and Chingford (£542).
Matt Hutchinson, communications director for SpareRoom, commented: “House prices may have stalled but rents are on the up again. The ongoing Brexit mayhem might be putting people off buying or selling but renters still need to move.”
“With that in mind, it’s no surprise London continues to show solid growth, but if this 4% rise is a reflection of what’s to come, we’ll see renters hit their affordability ceiling and be further out the capital, especially as Crossrail, when it’s finally complete, is likely to drive rents up in the east and south east of London.”