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April 24, 2014 - Latest:

Flats more expensive to rent in Manchester than Madrid. UK rents are highest in Western Europe

  • 29 April 2013

The average cost of sharing a flat in the UK is £390 a month, the highest in Western Europe with London by far and away the most expensive city.

A study of over 35,000 UK, French, Italian and Spanish rental properties by flatshare website reveals that a UK tenant pays at least £50 more per month than their European counterparts.

The average rent in the UK is 73% higher than the average for Spain, a difference of £165. With average rents of £340, France is the second most expensive country for renters, followed by Italy at £297 per calendar month.

Jonathan Moore, director of, says: “As potential first time buyers continue to struggle to get on the property ladder, their demand for an alternative form of accommodation will continue to push up rental prices.”

In a survey of the biggest five cities in each of these countries, London is the single most expensive city, with average monthly rents of £575 per month.  Paris is second in the table at £426 per calendar month. This is £42 higher than Rome the third most expensive at £348 per calendar month.

The website has compiled this list of the most expensive cities for renting in Western Europe

City Monthly Rent (£) City Monthly Rent (£)
1 London £575 11 Leeds £325
2 Paris £426 12 Toulouse £298
3 Milan £384 13 Madrid £285
4 Nice £384 14 Barcelona £275
5 Rome £384 15 Turin £273
6 Birmingham £347 16 Naples £256
7 Manchester £347 17 Seville £213
8 Marseille £341 18 Zaragoza £201
9 Glasgow £338 19 Valencia £188
10 Lyon £332 20 Palermo £162

Spanish cities, in the midst of a crippling downturn with very high unemployment are amongst the least expensive, with Valencia, Seville and Zaragoza featuring in the cheapest five. Valencia is the cheapest of the Spanish cities, with monthly rents averaging just £188 per month. Of the most expensive European cities to live in, four English and four French cities feature in the top 10, alongside two Italian cities.

Italy showed one of the largest gaps in rents across western Europe, with a clear divide between the North and South. Milan and Rome are both in the top five most expensive cities, but Palermo features much further down the list. For the average renter, it costs just £162 per month to live in Palermo, just under half the cost of renting in Milan. A North South divide was also evident in the UK, with renting in London proving to be £237 per month more costly than in Glasgow and £250 more than Leeds.

Moore adds: “The real surprise is how Birmingham and Manchester fared, rents in these area’s have soared beyond those paid in cities like Madrid and Barcelona. However whilst Milan may well be considered one of the most fashionable cities in Europe meaning that flatmates are paying a premium to live there, London rents are not much cheaper.”



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