10th February 2016
Rents in commuter towns Swindon and Luton are rising four times faster than London, as those priced out of the capital are drawn towards the commuter belt, new figures reveal.
The latest rental index from SpareRoom.co.uk, shows that, of the UK’s 50 biggest towns and cities, rents are rising fastest in Swindon (13%), Luton (12%), Bristol (11%) and Reading (10%).
The average monthly rent for a room in Swindon was £452 by the end of last year, while in Luton it was £443, Bristol £465 and Reading £548.
UK rent rises are gaining pace as room rents rose 4.7% between 2013 and 2014, and 5.5% between 2014 and 2015.
Meanwhile, London rents are slowing: they rose 9.5% between 2013 and 2014 but only 3.5% between 2014 and 2015.
The average monthly cost of renting a room in the capital was £743 by the end of last year.
The most expensive rents outside London are all in the capital’s satellite towns, with Esher (£641), Twickenham (£637) and Kingston (£621) topping the list.
The cheapest major UK towns and cities to rent a room include Belfast (£277), Bradford (£294), Dundee (£317) and Sunderland (£318), while the most (excluding London) are Reading (£548) and Oxford (£537)
With nine people searching per room available, Harlow in Essex and Belfast are the most popular post towns in the UK.
Matt Hutchinson, director of SpareRoom.co.uk, says: “We’ve reached the point where London room rents are so high some tenants can’t afford to live there.
“Renters are naturally drawn to the next best thing – the commuter belt – where accommodation savings hopefully outweigh the higher travel costs. “But that extra demand in London satellite towns like Harlow, where nine people are searching for every room available, means prices are rising sharply year on year there too.
“It’s a matter of when, not if, the commuter belt will become unaffordable for lower-paid Londoners, like the service workers who keep the capital ticking. “We either need to drastically increase supply in London or start creating more jobs in other areas of the UK to spread the demand for housing more widely. In truth we probably need to do both.
“In the meantime, renting as a lodger, is a good way for tenants to save on their outgoings. With lodger rents more likely to include bills, they’re generally better value for money than rents charged by traditional landlords, especially in London.”