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Interactive: how much has rent gone up in your area?

In every region of England and Wales, rent has increased significantly in recent years, but some areas are up far more than others. (Update: with additional data requested by a reader.)

 
Interactive: how much has rent gone up in your area?

This interactive feature will not work on our mobile site – please visit our full site.

Update: Following a request from Prof Eman in the comments, we've downloaded data from the Office for National Statistics to allow us to compare average rent with average earnings, and with inflation. Select one of these options to draw different data on the chart in the top right:

Average rent
Average rent (in 'today's money', RPI adjusted)
Average rent (in 'today's money', CPI adjusted)
Average weekly earnings in each region
Average rent as a percentage of earnings

A few points to note for those interested: the rental data is monthly, whereas the earnings data is quarterly. Neither dataset is seasonally adjusted. 'Earnings' includes salaries but not unearned income, benefits in kind or arrears of pay.

Earnings data is regional, but is unavailable for England & Wales where we've substituted data for the UK as a whole.

In every region of England and Wales, rent has increased significantly in recent years, but some areas are up far more than others. Watch the video for an intro, or...

England and Wales

The average rent in England and Wales is £713 a month – 3.5% higher than in August 2008

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London South East South West East of England East Midlands West Midlands Wales North West North East Yorkshire and the Humber England and Wales (average)

Rents reach record highs

The cost of renting in the UK is rising at a frightening pace.

In September, for the first time ever, rents rose in every single region in England and Wales, with rents in six regions hitting an all-time high. The average rent is now at a record high of £718 a month, according to LSL Property Services – an increase of some £24 a month, or £288 a year, since last September.

Against a backdrop of soaring energy bills, fuel costs and food prices, this is terrible news for renters who are already struggling to cope with the rising cost of living.

London, perhaps unsurprisingly, remains the most expensive place to rent in England and Wales. With an average rent of £1,029, rent in London is some £283 higher than the in next most expensive region, the South East, and almost double that in the cheapest region, the North East, where rent is just £524 a month.

At 17.5%, London also boasts the highest rate of increase since its last low of £876 in February 2009. Not far behind, again, is the South East, where rents have increased by 16.2% since May 2009.

For anyone who thinks that only renters in the South need worry, however, it’s worth noting that rents in the North East, North West and Yorkshire and Humber have been rising steadily over the past two years or so. 

Though, with respective rents of £524, £577 and £530 a month, they’ll get no sympathy from any southern renters – despite their larger average salaries. The North East is the only region in England where the average rent continued its relentless upward march through the 2008 recession.

To see how your region compares, click on the map above. And whether you’re a tenant, a landlord, or glad that you’re neither, please share your stories in the comments box below.

32 comments so far. Why not have your say?

Robert Court

Nov 06, 2011 at 09:36

Cause for concern for all.

1. Those paying rent are going to find it more difficult to save for a deposit on a house as their disposable income reduces due to higher rents.

2. Landlords will initially welcome increased rents but will become more concerned that tenants might default and a non-paying tenant with all the legal costs of removing them and lost rental income is an unwelcome cost.

3. Under 'normal' conditions with normal 'supply and demand' it would seem logical that reduced house prices and low interest rates would indirectly force down rentals but the market is again distorted by the economic crisis where I'd imagine even established landlords would not be able to respond quickly to increased demand by buying more rental properties.

4. The social implications: The population hasn't increased significantly but more people are living on their own rather than in larger family units and individuals living on their own tend to have lower living standards than if they benefit from the emotional and economic benefits of pooling their resources.

5. The economic impact: As housing benefits increase it is an even greater disincentive for those out of work to become employed again as the lost 'opportunity cost' of free housing and other unemployment benefits PLUS the additional costs such as commuting will mean the unemployed will have to earn more in employment to be any better off.

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Anonymous 1 needed this 'off the record'

Nov 06, 2011 at 09:57

Richard, Victoria

Would be interesting to do the following.

Work out the ratios

Regional average rent/regional average house price, in money and real terms

Regional average income/ regional average rent, in money and real terms and

The rent increses adjusted for regional inflation, i.e. real rent increases

to help establish whether, if at all, rents in real terms have increased.

Prof Eman

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John Carroll

Nov 06, 2011 at 11:03

Robert : "Concern for all."

I agree with that. As a small portfolio holder, I've had my share of problem tenants.

It's only fairly recently - with fingers crossed - that all my tenants are paying in full and on time.

My rents are lower than average - South East - and as you rightly point out it's better to get lower regular payments than rental payments that clearly cannot be sustained.

I suspect that as the 'crunch' takes a longer hold, rents will be the first to come under pressure.

I learnt many years ago - don't be greedy, it will catch up and bite you.!!

John Carroll

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Robert Court

Nov 06, 2011 at 11:23

John Carroll

I hope that all your rental properties remain occupied with paying tenants; I'd imagine that you'd need at least ten properties to feel reasonably secure with an occupancy rate of about 75 to 80%.

Above figures were just off the top of my head as I 'know nothing' re. renting apart from this one property and I am keeping my fingers crossed that any problems will be minor problems and that both the tenant and myself have nothing serious to complain about.

Agreed re. greed (it caught me out last year and cost me dearly!)

Greed and debt are just as bad though there is nothing wrong with being ambitious for success!

I have only one property rented out and at 'only' £450 per month gross; I hope that the lower end of the market shall continue to to be fairly secure.

I'm delighted as it represents a 22.5% gross annual return on the cost of the property and still a reasonable 9.15% net return on its present market value.

I'll hold onto to the property until the net annual return falls to 8% which will hopefully mean the property has gone up in value rather than the rental income gone down.

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stiff watt

Nov 06, 2011 at 11:51

House prices adjust themselves according to the sum of cost factors affecting buyers: interest rates, deposit required, cost of living

Rental prices adjust also according to the sum of cost factors affecting renters: cost of living, need for mobility (negative factor), aversion to ownership risks (negative factor), high interest rate on high LTV mortgages (negative factor), high probability of mortgage interest hikes (negative factor).

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MICHAEL HARRIS

Nov 06, 2011 at 12:09

How much of these prices are artificially bouyed by Housing Benefit? We have a so-called private enterprise economy where rents are not allowed to find their natural market levels. The middle classes, who rent out houses, are just as dependent on State Aid as the unemployed and low-paid recipients. We have the ridiculous situation where the middle classes fully support a socialistic measure. Abolish the benefit and rents, followed by house prices, will plummet-houses will be affordable, and private sector rentals will be more viable for the purchaser. Why should taxpayer money subsidise private landlords? Get rid of it and allow the market to do its work.

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Martin Jachnik

Nov 06, 2011 at 12:26

What about Scotland?

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Michael Peters Fenwicks

Nov 06, 2011 at 13:50

Increased rents where is the money coming from?

This points more to property ponzi scheme similar to the stock markets of the 1930s.

In the truest opinion I see the world heading towards a depression/recession and we are talking about increased rent - how interesting?

Less money in the economy not forgetting the swings in the stock markets surely that must give a clue instead of the endless raising rents.

Increasing rents = absolute non sense simple as that!

Rents are not sustainable and have not done so for a long time knowing how many people invested in property not covering their costs 100%.

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Punter in the Park

Nov 06, 2011 at 14:11

I have my PPP; no nothing to do with medical insurance but my Portfolio of Pension Properties to support me in retirement - I hope. I keep rental increases to small amounts, even nothing at all sometimes, because I consider a reliable tenant paying on time and respecting my property to be worth more than any "increased value" hyped in the press.

The policy has served me well; 2/3rds of my tenants have been with me for tthree years or more and happily repair or renew small items without reference or charge to me. That's worth a fortune for the peace of mind it provides.

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MICHAEL HARRIS

Nov 06, 2011 at 15:07

Could somebody please answer my earlier question? (see above-Michael Harris).

Just why should taxpayers' money subsidise landlords with two or more houses? It's not an envy thing, if anything I am a complete free marketeer.

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Punter in the Park

Nov 06, 2011 at 15:16

Michael why do you assume those who rent are living off benefits? That's a very "Islington Attitude" if I may say so.

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Ian McKean

Nov 06, 2011 at 15:35

I find that housing benefit pays less than I can get for nice property from private tenants, so I do not subscribe to Michael Harris' view that housing benefit articially inflates rentals. I have occasionally had HB tenants in the past, but don't have any at the moment and generally avoid them. It must be said however that Oxford's rental market is atypical.

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MICHAEL HARRIS

Nov 06, 2011 at 15:38

Dear Punter, I don't care if they are working or not-the principle is that it is undesirable for the taxpayer to pay. If the market was allowed to operate w/o subsidy then all rents, followed by house prices, would collapse to a reasonable level.When the Gov't spends money it's not free-it's our money.

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Anonymous 1 needed this 'off the record'

Nov 06, 2011 at 15:43

Michael Harris

If your free market would operate in the way suggested, and house prices fall, then everyone who owns a house would probably end up in negative equiity.

I do not think many house ownners would be pleased, besides the pain on the homelessness inflicted.

Children sleeping in the road? Is that your wish?

Prof Eman

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Robert Court

Nov 06, 2011 at 16:07

Negative equity isn't such a terrible thing apart from job mobility; if you could afford your mortgage payments before then you should be able to afford them now and it's the roof over your head so you should have made adequate provision to pay your 'rent' whether as a mortgage or to a landlord.

'Children sleeping in the road' is emotive poppycock; we may be living beyond our means as a country but have not quite been reduced to that level of individual and social poverty yet.

When people are unable to move home to better employment elsewhere then negative equity becomes more than a temporary annoyance

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Robert Court

Nov 06, 2011 at 16:19

Martin Jachnik

What about Scotland? It's a 'grey area' to the north of the map provided.

What about Northern Ireland? It doesn't exist on the above map at all.

Michael Harris

When governments interfere in markets for all the right reasons they often have unforeseen negative results.

Michael Peters Fenwicks

It is indeed 'baffling' and I find it very strange that when I could sell my property in the UK for 62.5% more than it is worth today (i.e. a fall of 41.67%) I couldn't rent it out as it was in a 'hard to rent' area.

Now that it's dropped in value it has suddenly become easy to rent, but i shall keep a beady eye on the situation and not believe my luck in this area shall last forever.

Should things get really bad I'll have to accept your kind invitation to join you on your yacht and contemplate the fall of civilisation as we know it today whilst drinking your cheap, nasty champagne! :)

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MICHAEL HARRIS

Nov 06, 2011 at 18:11

Dear Prof, If we had let the free market operate then rents and house prices would fall during a slump. This never happens- the Gov't interference is what keeps the rents and house prices high. It's a vicious circle. Because we are addicted to grossly inefficient State spending ,we prop up the markets artificially. Also,w/o Housing Benefit more people would seek employment. The reason many people don't look for jobs is because they would lose too much in the form of benefits if they worked. Their rents are paid, council tax, prescriptions, and other things besides-even vets' bills. In providing a mass of state assistance you may LOOK like you are taking the moral high ground, but in the long run you are damaging the poorest in our society. Gov't spending is nearly always more extravagant and wasteful than the market-MP's, esp. socialists, like to look charitable and benevolent, but they would do more good by not doing anything-remember, they THINK it's their money-most people in Britain encourage them in that notion-if only by omission. State share of the economy is over 70% in N.Ireland, and heading that way everywhere else, to the long-term impoverishment of this nation.

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Stephen Griffiths

Nov 06, 2011 at 18:15

It's yet another shocking example of the gap between rich and poor having been extended during the new labour years. I am not necessarily of the mind that everyone should own their own house but I do think the German system is much smarter with a strict cap on rents such that only huge professional property letting companies can survive on the narrow profit margins.

The effect on their society is evident. Property remains cheap because their is no incentive to speculate on buy-to-let. People that want to buy can do so easily often by saving up and buying outright without a mortgage. Those that wish to enjoy the flexibility of renting can do so but without being fleeced by buy to let landlords trying to make their 5%. If we let property correct as it needs to there will be pain for some who over extended themselves in the mistaken belief that they had made a one way bet. But there'll be no more children on the street in that scenario than if rents keep rising and Britain turns into a zombie economy because of the number of people requiring benefit just to keep a roof over their heads. But restoring sanity to the housing market would put more money in the pockets of the British consumer. I'd love to know what proportion of British income goes directly to banks in oder to pay the loans we took out to get a roof over our heads. How is that good for a diverse and healthy economy. We are rapidly heading for a situation in which pretty much every penny we earn goes to treading water. In that sense we will be no happier than the millions of people who live hand to mouth all over the developing world. Is this where capitalism is leading us?

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Robert Court

Nov 06, 2011 at 18:33

MICHAEL HARRIS & Stephen Griffiths

Good points from both of you.

I once rented a property in Berlin and had an excellent landlord who'd made his fortune as a chemical enginner in the USA.

Many rents were indeed fixed but that's government intereference again and can cause problems as then old properties can deliberately become neglected to encourage people to move out.

Maybe people should get a single fixed benefit in the UK if unemployed and, just like employed people, move to where they can afford to live if the amount is insufficient to live on - many unemployed people would probably have to leave somewhere like London and the resulting lowering of rent might attract those who are more employable.... a kind of 'swap shop' of job and unemployment mobility that would reflect the economix reality.

I mean, why pay people huge sums in housing benefit in London if they can be housed far cheaper in our very own Outer Mongolia - Wales! :)

It's obvious that with a fixed total benefit for being unemployed that people will move to where they are better off (e.g. paying less rent to have a greater disposable income) - and if they do not wish to move there is always the possibility of finding work quickly if they do not wish to move!

Amazing what people can do if they are motivated to take action.

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Robert Court

Nov 06, 2011 at 18:40

Did I accidentally invent a new word by a typographical error?

'Economix' - a very sick and mixed up economy?

'Economousska' - A Greek tragedy economy.

'Econotrix' - the Italian Economy

'Econobah' - the Welsh economy

'Econowurst' -Zer German economy

'Econoeco' - a fantasy sustainable economy

'Econosphere' - a very spaced out economy

'Econocentric' - North Korean economy

Enough!.............. but it made me smile even if you didn't!

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Punter in the Park

Nov 06, 2011 at 18:52

Why are you all so fixated by housing benefits as if no one but the unemployed rent their home? Do any of you actually know what % of renters are on benefits? Only once that is established can the pros and cons of our benefits system be discussed.

rents are on the increase simply because there is insufficient stock. Yesterday I visited one of my agents, a leader in the area and he has virtually no properties available. The Government should encourage BTL investors but also establish a very strict code of conduct.

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Anonymous 1 needed this 'off the record'

Nov 06, 2011 at 19:29

Robert Court

"childeren sleeping in the road" is emotive poppycock.

Where else would some of them sleep under pure market mechanisms, particularly in recession?

Prof Eman

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Robert Court

Nov 06, 2011 at 19:47

Punter in the Park

I have no idea on the percentage claiming housing benefit and I'd imagine it would vary enormously depending on where you live.

Some people do seem obsessed that 'evil landlords' make huge sums out of housing benefits but as far as i have experienced it's often hard for an individual to get housing benefit of the full amount from a private landlord while the full rent on a council property or housing association seems virtually guaranteed if a person is unemployed.

I certainly do not believe landlords are evil if they are prepared to take the risk of renting out to unemployed people - and it IS a risk because if the rent is paid directly to the landlord and the claimant is subsequently found to be not entitled the landlord has to repay the housing benefit and attempt to get the by now well overdue rent from his/her tenant.

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Robert Court

Nov 06, 2011 at 19:57

Prof Eman

People often have families and people even sometimes know people they consider 'friends' who would gladly help out; then there is something called 'charity' as in the case of natural disasterswhen churches and schools are used to house people on a temporary basis.

Even with zero family and zero friends and zero charity people have the ability to make their own shelters.

How would YOU survive a nuclear war (assuming you weren't turned into a radioactive glowing professor) without a welfare state and with all your family and friends dead.

You'd either give up and die or fight to survive.

I believe things would have to get very, very bad before children were living on the streets just because of market forces in our country with a large network of friends, family and charities available as a last resort.

Get real - children sleeping on the streets?

They already do - but only a few either out of choice or because of family abuse where they have run away from home or from being in care; but then maybe we should pay children as young as 12 or 13 benefits so they can live on their own free from any parental or adult guidance?

Prof Eman aka name spelt backwards aka 'always anonymous' you were being emotive just for the sake of it and you know that children would not be living on the streets if government just relaxed a little on interfering with every aspect of our waking and sleeping lives.

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Anonymous 1 needed this 'off the record'

Nov 06, 2011 at 21:02

Robert Court

I am not quite sure who needs to get real.

Google unemloyed in the USA, the nearest to a full market system, and find out, what their unemployment rate is, and how some unemployed are living.

Prof Eman

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Andrew Graham

Nov 06, 2011 at 21:54

Does no one live in rented accommodation in Scotland & n Ireland ?

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Rich Harris (Citywire)

Nov 07, 2011 at 13:14

Prof Eman - good ideas. We've grabbed some data from the ONS and hacked it into the interactive. You can now see that, for example, average rent in London is currently 33% of average earnings - less than before the 2008 recession, but a significant chunk. In the North East meanwhile, where wages have been more static, rent as a proportion of earnings has increased but is under 26%.

Comparing something to 'real' prices is a bit of a misnomer in our opinion, since we're then comparing the change in price of one thing (e.g. rent) versus the change in price of other things (which includes rent but also petrol, education and baked beans) - the comparison with wages is more illuminating. Nevertheless we've included RPI and CPI data as well.

Look forward to seeing what observations everyone draws from the data.

To those of you who pointed out the Scotland and Northern Ireland shaped gaps, apologies - we would have like to have included this data but couldn't get hold of it.

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Jon Pratt

Nov 07, 2011 at 18:10

These LSL figures get spewed all over the media. I hope they are as good at mathematics as they are at self-publicity/relentless ramping of the BTL industry.

But therein lies my concern. Has their methodology been reviewed by anyone? Or are the media just sucking up the self-interested press releases trotted out by this formerly unheard of company? Do they really deliver the most accurate rental survey in the UK? Or are they talking up their book?

I suspect the latter. I rented a modest 2 bed apartment in an affluent south east town in 2004. It was £750 per month. I stayed there for 6 years. I never had a rent increase. I now live overseas but I noticed the other day on Rightmove that an identical apartment, in good nick, with a garage (whih mine did not have) was going for£795 per month. So, a massive ‘rental surge’ of about 6% in 8 ytears……..

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Jon Pratt

Nov 08, 2011 at 00:32

Reading the blurb at the bottom of their press release I note it states:

METHODOLOGY:

The buy‐to‐let index is based on analysis of over 18,000 properties across the UK each month. Rental values refer to the actual values achieved for each property when let during the month. Yield figures are unadjusted, and do not take account of void periods or arrears. Annual returns are based on annual rental property price inflation and void‐adjusted yield at the point of purchase.

This raises more questions than answers.

For example, are they talking about the same 18,000 properties that are analyzed each month? If so, how were they selected? Do they include LHA tenants as well as private sector? And how many of these 18,000 have sold during the time that the survey has been running? And if one sells, how is it replaced in the survey? And how are things like renovations factored in to the survey, both from a cost and rental increase perspective?

If they are not the same 18,000, then how do they keep the mix consistent? If there are more and more 4 bed houses coming on to the rental market (as people cannot sell) then of course the ‘average’ rent will go up. This masks the fact that the rent on say, a 2 bed flat, has remained unchanged for years……….

I suspect this survey is bull. It is in LSLs interest to talk up the market. How about a bit of investigation in to the methodology they use Citywire???

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Citylets

Nov 10, 2011 at 11:45

Interesting analysis though the use of a single 'UK earnings average' is flawed.

Office for National Statistics publish Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings which provides relevant earnings data at National, Regional and even Local Authority level.

Shelter recently published a very good bit of research 'Private Rent Watch' (covering just England) which looks at rent affordability at the the most detailed level possible (i.e. local authority)

Citylets.co.uk provide the most detailed analysis of the PRS in Scotland and NI and can provide equivalent data for these markets if anyone is interested. You can download our analysis for free here www.citylets.co.uk/reports

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Rich Harris (Citywire)

Nov 10, 2011 at 17:10

Citylets - that's good to know, thanks. We'll take a look. Incidentally we've featured data from Shelter previously (http://citywire.co.uk/money/interactive-do-you-live-in-one-of-englands-repossession-hotspots/a504044).

One point to clarify though: the average weekly earnings is regional data from the ONS, rather than UK-wide - if you select that option then click on different regions you'll see what I mean. Now that you point it out it isn't at all obvious from the text! We've updated it to make it clearer.

Jon Pratt - you raise some very good points. We've contacted LSL so they can respond. However while they clearly do have a commercial interest, our view is that any manipulation of the data would be self-defeating in the long run as it would have to come back to reflect reality eventually. You're extremely fortunate to have gone 6 years without a rent increase - it's not an experience we recognise from our own lives and those of friends and colleagues, sadly!

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Stephen Griffiths

Nov 10, 2011 at 19:46

Dear Richard

Only anecdotal evidence I know, but my personal experience in Devon backs up Jon Pratt's. Seven years in the same property without a rent increase. It's hardly galloping rent inflation. I suspect there are lots of people out there trying to talk up the market.

It also may be that as with most things London behaves completely differently to the rest of the country and skews the figures. I guess the other factor is that most serious rent increases occur in between tenants as it's much harder to push an increase through on a good reliable tenant, that you don't wish to drive out of your property.

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