The average cost of renting a room in the UK has increased by £15 per calendar month (pcm) over the past year, from £567 in 2018 to £582 in 2019, new figures show.
The data from SpareRoom reveals that London, Northern Ireland and West Midlands have seen the largest jump, with rents up 4% year-on-year.
A closer look at the UK’s 50 largest towns and cities reveals that the highest surge in rental costs are in the north of England, with Lancashire’s Preston securing top spot.
Rents in Preston have increased by 8%, or £30 a month, since last year, bringing the average rent to £378pcm. York and Stockport follow with increases of 7% each.
At the other end of the scale, Southend-On-Sea, Aberdeen, and West Bromwich sit at the bottom of the table with decreases of -5%, -3%, and -3%, respectively.
Oxford follows London 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 £530pcm and £519pcm each. Conversely, the cheapest rents can be found in Belfast (£312pcm), Sunderland (£319pcm) and Middlesbrough (£327pcm).
In London, contrast to the traditional north-south divide, an east-west divide is now visible with many of capital’s cheapest rents located east and south-east, whilst 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 (£1,336), despite costs decreasing by -7% over the past year. This is closely followed by South Kensington / Knightsbridge (SW7) (£1,177) and the Stand / Holborn (WC2) (£1,157).
However, there’s still hope for those wanting to rent in London on a tighter budget, with 17 areas in the city available for under £600, including Abbey Wood which offers the cheapest average rent (£531pcm), Manor Park (£541pcm) and Chingford (£542pcm).
Matt Hutchinson, communications director for SpareRoom, said: “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 forced further out the capital, especially as Crossrail, when it’s finally complete, likely to drive rents up in the east and south east of London.”
The table below shows how room rents have risen across the UK and in London over the past year:
This table shows the most expensive post towns to rent a room in the UK (outside of London), based on rents in Q1 2019:
This table shows the least expensive post towns to rent a room in the UK, based on rents in Q1 2019: