Average rents in the U.K. rose to a slower pace than the level of average earnings last year, making renting more affordable – a new report by Zoopla reveals.
The property website’s latest rental market report shows that rents have risen on average at just half the level of earnings.
Average rents increased by 2% to £876 in the 12 months to the end of September 2019. Average weekly earnings, on the other hand, climbed by 4% over the same period.
According to Zoopla, the typical renter has spent 31.8% of their earnings on rent, down from a peak of 33.3% in 2016.
“Renting is more affordable today than the 10-year average,” said Richard Donnell, Zoopla director of research and insights. “This follows weak rental growth over the last three years, and an acceleration in the growth of average earnings.”
Donnell added that an increase in first-time buyers, 80% of whom exit the private renting sector to buy, has also “moderated” rental demand.
“Rental affordability varies widely across the country, reflecting the relative strength of local economies,” he said.
London confirmed itself the least affordable place to rent, with rental costs accounting for 46% of a single person’s wages on average.
Oxford came in second, with tenants typically spending 44% of their earnings on rents, followed by Brighton (42%) and Cambridge (41.3%).
The cheapest places to rent a home in the country were Middlesbrough, Hull and Bradford.
Nottingham, Leeds and Bristol were the cities in the U.K. that saw the biggest rent increases last year.
Rents in Nottingham climbed 5.4%, followed by Leeds and Bristol (+4.5%).
Aberdeen had the sharpest fall, with a 4.1% drop in the third quarter of the year, compared with the year before. Zoopla said that the rents plummeting was a consequence of oil prices collapse.