Analysis Shows Average Rent Prices Lagging Behind Average Salaries in the UK

Recent research conducted by LandlordBuyer reveals that, in the past year, average salaries in the UK have grown at a faster pace than average private rental costs.

What Do the Latest Rental Price and Average Salary Figures Indicate?

  • Over the last 12 months, average rent prices in England have increased by 5.12%. However, weekly regular pay has seen a more significant increase of 7.17% over the same period, rising from £572 to £613.
  • Excluding London, the UK’s average private rental price stands at £1,037 per month.
  • London has witnessed its highest-ever annual rental price percentage increase over the past year since data collection began in 2006, with rental prices increasing by 5.5% from August 2022 to August 2023.
  • In the period from April to June 2023, there was a 7.8% annual growth in regular pay (excluding bonuses), marking the highest regular annual growth rate since comparable records began in 2001.

Where Are the Most Affordable Regions for Renting in the Country?

The North East of England takes the lead as the most affordable region, with monthly rental prices averaging just £636. Yorkshire and The Humber closely follow, with an average monthly rent cost of £836.

What Are Property Experts Predicting About the Future Relationship Between Salaries and Rental Costs in the UK?

Jason Harris-Cohen, Managing Director of LandlordBuyer, shared his perspective, saying, “The UK’s rental market is subject to a ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’ scenario. While rising wages mean tenants have more take-home pay, income increases are being spent on rising rents. There really is no current advantage to getting a pay rise, especially if it pushes someone into a higher take bracket – they could actually end up with less money.

There will be a tipping point in the private rental market and I don’t think it’s that far away. Landlords will not be able to keep raising rents indefinitely. Each area and property type will have its ceiling limit. Breach this and the landlord runs the risk of rent arrears, with many tenants already struggling with living costs. Pitch the rent too low and the landlord won’t be able to cover their own expenses.
Landlords exiting the market is making matters worse. The more that leave, the less choice there is and increased competition for rentals will naturally push rents up.
A backdrop to all of this is higher mortgage rates. Despite lenders cutting rates in late summer and early autumn, the reductions are minimal – there’s still a huge gulf between the circa 2% rates we saw three, four years ago and the new normal of 5-6%. This is going to come as a huge shock to landlords coming off fixed-rate buy-to-let mortgages. Realistically, but-to-let may soon become a small pool of mortgage-free properties and cash-buying landlords.
Property investors looking for a silver lining will know that high mortgage rates also keep tenants in rented accommodation. Even with house prices slowly drifting downwards, many first-time buyers simply can’t afford the deposit, stamp duty, mortgage arrangement fee, legal costs and monthly mortgage repayments needed to become a homeowner. Therefore it was no surprise that Zoopla recently declared renting was cheaper than mortgage repayments for the first time in 13 years.”

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