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How much is too much? Only two thirds of rents “affordable” - claim

An online rental platform suggests almost a third of rental homes may be deemed unaffordable.

Ocasa, using Office for National Statistics data, has analysed the current cost of renting across each postcode in England and Wales, as well as the average household income.

It found 69 per cent of areas classified as affordable.


Across England & Wales, the average annual rent is £12,763 and the average annual household income is £43,341. Therefore, rent accounts for 29 per cent of the average household income, meaning many may be pushing the boundaries of affordability within the sector. 

Regionally, rent is most affordable in the North East where it consumes just 20 per cent of the average household income of £35,774.

In Yorkshire & Humber, rent eats up 22 per cent of annual income followed by the East Midlands (23 per cent), North West (24 per cent), West Midlands (25 per cent), and Wales (26 per cent). 

Even in the more expensive regional markets, rent remains just about affordable. In the East, South East, and South West of England, average rent ranges from £12,000 to £15,000 and equates to 30 per cent of household income in each region. 

The only region where rent is generally unaffordable is London. While the average income is a handsome £54,194, rent consumes 40 per cent of this with an average annual bill of £21,439. 

Looking in finer detail, the WR2 postcode in Worcester is the most affordable pocket of the rental market, where a year’s rent costs just 15 per cent of the average household income of £41,900. 

Head of sales and marketing at Ocasa, Jack Godby, comments: “It’s reassuring to see that the topline cost of renting remains theoretically affordable for the average household but it’s fair to say that this probably isn’t the reality facing many at the moment, as the cost of living crisis is putting a real squeeze on our finances. 

|The cost of rent alone might not break the bank, but once you add household bills and travel, it equates to quite a considerable sum for the average household and millions of people are currently struggling to cover these costs.”

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    Unless we have an affordable house building program along the same lines as post WW2 then this issue will continue.

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    Shouldn’t be postponed should be scrapped, too much existing red tape which is the cause of current housing problems and their answer is more red tape. Why are they in a job, not a hope them earning their own living yet allowed to introduce Treasonable Policies, at a time of staggering inflation and a recession imminent speeded up by this crap.

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    Housing is only one element of people's expenses. Travel to work costs is the other major one. London has extremely good public transport, so people don't have to factor in car ownership, petrol or parking. In many parts of the country a car is essential as public transport barely exists and certainly not at times that coincide with work patterns. Housing and travel to work costs should be combined when trying to determine affordability.
    At the moment rent is about the only stable cost most people have as rents can only be increased once a year. A great many landlords don't routinely increase rents for existing tenants at all. Everything else goes up far more frequently. Food, petrol, utilities, etc.

    • 15 June 2022 09:13 AM

    Spot on


    Very true. And childcare costs, which is significantly more than the cost of my two mortgages each month!

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    Look like the end of Joint Tenancies, they are all equally liable joint & several but now the Welsh Government see fit to make this nil & void, the proposal allows one to come and go at any time they like and be replaced, so it’s not a Contract at all just permanent occupancy’s with no Contract. We are only going to be able to let individual room like the HMO’s forced upon us. Do they not think HMO’s and the huge burden of red tape associated with that was enough.
    Also I have to disagree with some LL that think property prices & Rents will rise. I think not a bit of it everyone’s purse strings tied and strapped for cash, it wishful thinking reality is very much different.

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    Sorry Jo, London can’t function without vehicular transport. Public transport is fine for Office type Staff and administrative employees with their lap tops or sandwiches in the brief case but for people who do other works or trades private transport is essential, no need to go into costs, Congestion Charge £12.50 pd,, ULEZ £15 pd, Parking £6.00 + ph and limited hours much more, Petrol……., etc, can someone tell the Mayor Mr Sadiq Khan who is oblivious to all this.

    • 15 June 2022 09:17 AM

    Sadiq Khant is a useless incompetent brainless moron. He keeps destroying London.


    Michael - In London of course some people need a vehicle to do their job and some people will have a vehicle just because they want one and can afford one.
    In other parts of the country the choice is either have a vehicle or be unemployed. Even office type staff would need a car to get themselves to the edge of town park and ride that would take them the rest of the way assuming they worked conventional hours while the service was running. In this area most of the jobs are in and around the main city while cheap housing that comes anywhere close to LHA rent is 25 miles away. To get cheap rent someone would have to look at a long journey to work.
    You have people paying a fortune to commute into London because housing is cheaper outside London. So again it's the combined housing and travel to work cost that should be looked at.

    The article was about the average percentage of income spent on rent and the regional differences. My opinion is that travel to work costs are a highly relevant part of someone's living costs and in many cases it's a straight choice between paying more on housing, less on transport or more on transport, less on housing.
    When you get to the lower end of the income and rent spectrum where UC is part of the equation things get messy. Rent up to LHA limits is factored into someone's UC and there may also be discretionary housing funds available. There is nothing allowed for travel to work costs.

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    Affordability to who ? no one on benefits can afford the rent in the private rented sector

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    • 15 June 2022 09:16 AM

    And so what? Do you expect private landlords to provide cheap "social" housing?

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    The methodology in the article is a bit questionable as they have used average rent and average household income. It doesn't mention average household composition. It also doesn't mention if any allowance has been made for the fact that some rents include bills while others don't. It implies it includes all sectors of rental properties including subsidized social housing and by using the phrase "average household income" also implies all benefit derived income is included.

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    If only two thirds of rents are “affordable”, this looks like a dysfunctional market. I am not happy for my tax payments to be used to prop up an overpriced rental market. We need to get our prices right. People on low incomes need homes to live in. As landlords, we have to stop relying on state handouts to make the numbers work.


    I don't rely on state hand outs, I only accept working tenants that earn enough to pay me the rent, I think most landlords are now the same

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    Echis R your name is of a very poisonous viper ? Seems highly appropriate to me.

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    Echis R, only poisonous if they bite you ? Phew what a relief ! You are obviously someone who is drooling at the prospect of making money out of the mom and pop landlords ! Obviously you won't reveal yourself and hide behind nom de plumes !


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