Increase in flat sharing in UK as housing costs remain high

First time buyers struggle to move to the second rung on housing market

Increase in flat sharing in UK as housing costs remain high

The cost of buying or renting a home in the UK is not getting any cheaper which has led to an increase in demand from people deciding to flatshare, it is claimed. According to the latest figures from flatsharing firm Easyroommate, demand for accommodation has stayed consistently high, with the number of people searching for a room across the UK reaching nearly 40,000, a 2% increase.

The research shows that on average there are five potential tenants for each room available with Bristol having the highest demand with seven per room, followed by Manchester with six. It also points out that this time of year is usually less busy for this sector of the home market but so far 2013 has witnessed some of the largest numbers of people actively searching for accommodation.

In February 2012 there were 36,886 people looking for a room, whilst last month there were 37,468 flatsharers, an overall increase of 2%. ‘With the tough economic climate, more and more people are looking for alternative ways to save money. The 2% increase in the number of flatsharers between February 2012 and 2013, clearly indicates that people are seeing flatsharing as a viable money saving alternative,’ said the firm’s director Jonathan Moore.

Overall London has the highest demand with 15,162 people looking for accommodation, followed by Manchester with 1,578, Bristol with 1,192, Birmingham with 953 and Brighton and Hove with 869. There were 7,000 rooms listed in February and more than 37,000 people searching, the firm says, confirming that demand for a flatshare is far outstripping supply. Moore says that the demand shows that first time buyers and those further up the ladder can help meet their mortgage costs by renting a room and that the rules allow £4,250 in rent per year tax free.

‘Taking into account that February is typically one of the quietest months, high demand demonstrates that potential landlords don’t necessarily need to wait till the peak summer season to rent their property,’ he explained.

Quote from : “The number of individuals choosing to flat sharing exceeds 50,000 and the number of professionals currently searching for a flat share exceeds the number of students by 13%.”

One home owner from Bristol said that the majority of tenants she has are young professionals and they are never really in the house because they are at work so she pretty much has her home to herself. ‘Renting out my property is a great way for me to make a little extra money, and having an extra person in my home does not impact me at all, I don’t feel like I have had to relinquish my privacy, if anything it’s nice to have some companionship,’ she explained.

Recent research has found that the average person listing a room on the website prefers for their potential housemate to be a non-smoking professional woman, however 38% of the listings on the site also accept couples. Moore also pointed out that renting a room can help would be first time buyers save for a deposit. ‘Despite the marked increase in demand and competition remaining fierce, rents have not increased in three months. This is positive news for flatsharers saving money in the hope of eventually joining the property market,’ he pointed out.

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