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The most and least affordable places to rent a home in the UK

Parents and their children playing while moving into a new house
Parents and their children playing while moving into a new house

Renting in the UK has become more affordable, on average, with costs rising at just half the level of earnings growth, research by has found.

The Rental Market Report, by Zoopla, shows average rent in the UK increased just 2% to £876 in the year to October 2019. By contrast, weekly earnings climbed 4%.

The report, which looks at rents across 40 cities and 376 local authorities, also revealed the most and least-affordable places to rent right now.

Where is it least affordable to rent a home?

Typical rent in UK nations and regions
Typical rent in UK nations and regions

Unsurprisingly, the research found London is the least affordable UK city to rent in, with costs accounting for almost half (46%) a single person’s wages.


But the majority of London renters do not live alone, which cuts down on costs considerably, Zoopla said. For example, two people sharing a two-bedroom apartment in the capital would only spend about 23% of their income on rent.

Oxford is the least affordable city outside of the capital, with tenants spending almost as much as Londoners – about 44% of their wages – on rent. Brighton and Cambridge follow closely behind, at 42% and 41.3% respectively.

READ MORE: Renters pay twice as much on rent as homeowners pay on mortgages

Zoopla found the least affordable areas to rent are areas where demand for rental accommodation has grown significantly.

This includes areas where employment has increased faster than housing supply, towns and cities with high student populations, and places with high house-price-to-income rations.

The report also shows Nottingham has seen the highest rental growth in the past year, at 5.4%. Leeds and Bristol follow closely behind, both at 4.5%.

Where is it most affordable to rent a home?

Meanwhile, Hull is the most affordable place in the UK to rent a home. Housing costs in Hull account for just 19% of a person’s salary.

It is followed by Bradford and Stoke, at 19.5% and 20.6%, respectively.

Overall, Middlesbrough is the cheapest place to rent a home. Tenants in this city pay an average of £467 a month in rent.

READ MORE: Why the cost of private rent in the UK could be set to rise

Hull and Bradford follow at £469 and £486, respectively.

Swansea, Middlesbrough and Aberdeen have all seen rents fall during the past year. Aberdeen’s reduction of 4.1% is driven by the collapse in oil prices, Zoopla said.

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