UK is most expensive place to rent, research suggests

London is the priciest city, ahead of Paris and Milan

UK flat sharers face paying the highest property rents in Europe, some 5% higher than France, the second most expensive, new research shows.

The UK is the least affordable country, with 15% of gross earnings being spent on rent, compared to 12% in Spain and London is the priciest city, with an average monthly rent of £520, ahead of Paris and Milan.

And the research from that looked at 33,000 British, French, Italian and Spanish rental properties also found that Glasgow and Birmingham are more expensive than Madrid or Barcelona.

The average rent paid for a room in the UK is £360 per month, some 56% higher than that in Spain, where the average room costs £230 per month, a difference of £129 per month. France is the second most expensive country for renters with an average room rent of £342 per month, followed by Italy, where rents are £282 per calendar month, 22% cheaper than in the UK.

‘Flat sharers in the UK face much higher bills at the end of the month than their European counterparts. The combination of unaffordably high house prices with the ongoing lending crunch in the UK is leaving hundreds of thousands of frustrated buyers dependent on rental accommodation,’ said Jonathan Moore, director of Easyroommate.

‘With nearly 100,000 renters in the last year alone moving into the flat share sector, growing demand for cheaper accommodation options is driving up the cost flat sharing Brits face. The steady strengthening of the pound against the Euro in the last six months has played a role, but it is not the main driving force behind the gulf,’ he added.

The UK also emerged as the least affordable country for flat sharers, with a higher gross salary more than offset by higher rents. As a result, UK flat sharers must dedicate 15% of their gross salary to paying the rent each month. France and Italy were the next most unaffordable, with rents costing 14% of salaries, while renters in Spain must spend just 12% of their gross earnings on the cost of renting.

‘Although UK renters may be taking home bigger pay cheques than those in Spain and Italy, a far bigger chunk of these earnings must be put towards rent each month. With rents rising in the UK at nearly double the rate of the average salary, this is only going to get worse. In contrast, although Spanish workers may be taking home much less than the average in the Eurozone, this is softened by rock bottom rents,’ explained Moore.

In a survey of the biggest five cities in each of these countries, London emerged as the single most expensive city, with average monthly rents of £520 per month, some 21% higher than Paris, the next most expensive city. With average room rents of £419 per month, Milan was the third most expensive city for flat sharers.

UK and French cities dominate the most expensive, with eight cities in the ten most expensive. In fact, no British or French cities feature outside the top twelve. In contrast, Spanish cities feature heavily amongst the least expensive, with Valencia, Seville and Zaragoza featuring in the cheapest five. Zaragoza is the joint cheapest city, with monthly rents averaging just £201 per month.

‘Paris and Milan may well see strong demand from renters looking to live in the fashion capitals of Europe, but it is London that is in a league of its own. UK flat sharers are paying a premium of 44% to live in the capital, where the mismatch between the demand for accommodation and its supply is greatest. However, the real surprise was the performance of Birmingham and Glasgow, where it is now more expensive to rent a room than in Madrid or Barcelona,’ added Moore.

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