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Renting in the UK – is it worth it?

Renting in Westminster

Today, the ONS released a detailed housing statistics report based on the cost of private renting and how affordable it is in the current economic climate.

This release comes in the wake of ‘the housing crisis’ which continues to push homes beyond the reaches of prospective property purchasers, forcing many to consider renting. But how affordable is renting and is it worth it?

The cheapest rents recorded during 2014 were found in Powys County in mid Wales and Rhondda Cynon Taf, located just outside of Cardiff at just £238.33 per month for a non-self-contained single room.

In England, London was the most expensive area to rent as expected. With Westminster demanding a median monthly private rent of £2,383 and Kensington and Chelsea slightly less at £2,275. These two are the only local authorities in the whole of England to have an average monthly rent more than £2,000! The lowest median monthly rent in 2014 could be found in Hull and Burnley at £365 and £395 respectively. Both areas are in the north of England and support the trend that living in the north is cheaper than the south.

There was a strong correlation between the cost of private renting and average house prices across the UK. This shows that rents rise in line with in an areas property prices as shown in the scatter plot below:

Renting statistics

Source: ONS, Median monthly private rent and median house price by local authority

Generally, it was found that median gross monthly salary was highly correlated with monthly rental prices. However, some local authorities bucked the trend with Copeland in the north west of England enjoying an average salary of £2,051 per month with monthly private rent at just £400, making it the most affordable place to live in England. With prices as low as this and being nestled in the picturesque countryside of the Lake District, makes Copeland a very attractive place to live.

Copeland renting

Source: southportfellwalkingclub

London is the resounding leader as the least affordable area to live and rent in England with 18 London boroughs having rental prices equal to 50% or more of monthly salaries meaning Londoners can expect at least half their salary to go on home rental. Bexley is the cheapest London Borough to live in terms of rent price at 40.4% of median monthly salary. The map below represents the ratio of monthly rent price to income as a percentage for the rest of England, showing 70 areas with rents 30% or lower than monthly earnings, unsurprisingly, none being in London.

Renting statistics map

Source: ONS, Highest and lowest areas of median monthly private rent price as a % of median gross monthly salary

It looks like the north is and will remain the cheapest place to live in England as renting prices continue to rise alongside house prices. Let’s all move to the Lake District!


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