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Affordability bites for London's tenants

According to the latest research, just one in three new tenants renting property in 2016 opted for homes with an extra bedroom. In London where the average cost of an extra bedroom is a staggering £845, this dropped to just to just one in four.

As a comparison the UK average cost of renting an extra bedroom is £295 a month, which although significantly less than the London cost, has risen by 14% over the last five years.

Perhaps as a result of this increase in cost, the number of tenants with a spare room has fallen to the lowest level on record. Just one in three tenants (35%) currently rent a home with a spare bedroom, down from a peak of 59% in 2010.  As affordability bites and the increasing cost of renting has pushed affordability boundaries, more and more tenants are avoiding having to pay for extra bedroom space they don’t need.

Although tenants in London are least likely to rent a property with an extra bedroom, for other large cities such as Oxford, Cambridge and Bristol the figures are also quite low with fewer than three in every ten tenants having an extra bedroom. In cities where the cost of having an extra bedroom is much less such as Newcastle, Manchester and Liverpool, around 40% of tenants have a spare bedroom.

Commenting on the findings, Johnny Morris, Director of Research at Countrywide said: “As affordability pressures have risen for many tenants, extra space has become a luxury. Sacrificing extra bedrooms and sharing has helped renters to absorb higher prices. But those living in the South are close to a point where there’s not much more room to squeeze, meaning rental growth is likely to be capped by tenants incomes for some time”.

Chart 1 - Tenants with a spare room and cost of an extra bedroom

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