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Where are the most affordable places to rent in the UK?

As a tenant you'll look for many things when considering a new property. Transport links, local amenities, how easy the commute to work or college will be. They're all important factors when looking for a new place. But the bottom line for many tenants is the cost. Which is only sensible. There's no point looking at a property to let if you can't afford the rent.

But rent levels do vary widely across the country. A one bedroom flat in London will be far costlier than a comparable property in Middlesbrough. Which is what you’d expect if you’re comparing rents in the UK.

Affordable as opposed to cheap

In one sense it's very difficult to compare the cost of rentals in different parts of the country. In another it's very easy. Using our example above a one bedroom flat in London may cost £1400 a month. In Middlesbrough it may be £425. Obviously, it's cheaper to rent in Middlesbrough. But it's not a good way to compare rental prices. After all, if you're a tenant living and working in London you can't simply relocate to the north of the country because it's cheaper.

On average, wages and prices are higher in London than Middlesbrough. Indeed, levels of income and rental prices differ all around the country. So, instead of looking simply at price let's consider affordability. How likely is it a tenant in one location can afford to rent a property? Even though rentals are more expensive in London - does this make them any less affordable to the average tenant?

How to define affordable?

It's an interesting point. As we've discussed what's affordable to one tenant won't be to another. It can differ according to salary and location.

It’s often said a Tenant should look to pay no more than 30% of their salary on rent. It's a figure used by some housing organisations and welfare groups. If we take that as a benchmark for affordability the differences between regions in the UK is huge.

The BBC recently compiled figures from government statistics that illustrate the difference in tenants being able to afford the rent in different parts of the country. According to the figures the most affordable place to rent a property is the north east with tenants using 22% of their salary to pay their rent. In London that figure rises to a huge 50%.

Let's look at the figures another way. London, the south east, south west and east are all regions which are unaffordable places to rent if we stick to the 30% rule. Of course, that doesn't mean the private rental sector is any less strong in those regions. If anything, it's more competitive. Tenants in those areas have little choice but to find the rent.

But the figures do back up the north south divide. The most affordable places to rent are the north east, Wales, Yorkshire and the Humber, east midlands and the north west.

There's a but coming...

So far, we've talked about general trends. But there are variations in affordability even within the regions themselves. Every city or region has areas which are more expensive than others. It isn't unusual to see neighbouring postcodes have wildly different rents.

Taking London as an example a one bedroom flat in EC2R could cost three times as much as a similar rental in SE2. It’s a pattern repeated throughout the country.

So how do you find a place you can afford to rent? 

To find an affordable property to let in your area simply use the search facility on MakeUrMove. It's easy to use and you can filter properties on location, number of bedrooms and the cost of rent. Click here to begin your search.

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