London becoming more affordable for renters – research

While London remains the least affordable city for renters, the capital has seen the largest improvement in rental market affordability over the last five years, according to new research.

Lettings and estate agent Benham and Reeves analysed Office for National Statistics data measuring rents against income in an effort to discover how rental affordability levels have changed across each region of England between 2017 and 2022.

The latest figures (2022) show that across England, the average cost of renting currently sits at £795 per month. With the average earnings coming in at £3,050, this means the average renter is paying 26% of their monthly income on the cost of renting. This proportion has remained unchanged when compared to 2017.

London remains the least affordable region of England for renters, where they are required to pay 35% of their income on rent. However, the capital has seen rental affordability improve when compared to 2017. 

Across the capital the cost of renting has fallen, from £1,495 in 2017 to £1,450 in 2022, while typical incomes have increased from £2,975 to £4,155 per month over the same timespan.

As a result, the current level of income required to cover the cost of renting has fallen from 50% in 2017 to the 35% required today.

In the East of England, the proportion of income required to cover the average rent has reduced by 4%, as incomes of £3,560 stood against typical rents of £865 per month.

Affordability also improved in Yorkshire and the Humber (2%), the North West (1%), South West (1%), and East Midlands (1%).

Tenant affordability has worsened in three regions: by 5% in the West Midlands, 4% in the South West, and 1% in the North West.

Marc von Grundherr, director of Benham and Reeves, said: “With the government doing its best to deter landlords from the sector, a reduction in the level of available rental stock will have also helped to drive up the cost of renting and this is an issue that doesn’t look like it will be easing any time soon.”


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