The cost of flatsharing in some of the priciest towns and cities in the UK has surged by around 30% in the last three years, with renters in five cities paying over £500 per month to rent a room in a shared house.
Flatshares are still cheaper for most tenants than living alone, but as the amount of people who cannot afford to buy a home rises, prices are continuing to grow.
Data from flatsharing website EasyRoommate shows that since 2012, the greatest increase in room rent prices was seen in Oxford. The city’s high demand from students and some of the most expensive properties in the country are fuelling price rises.
EasyRoommate reports that the average cost of a room in Oxford listed on its site has increased by 29% since 2012, to £571 per month.
Other parts of the South East have seen similar price growth. In Reading, rents have risen by 23% to an average of £514 a month and in Cambridge, prices have increased by 21% to £552.
London is still the most expensive place to flatshare, with the average price of a room advertised on EasyRoommate heading towards £700 per month.
The average cost of renting a room in the capital has increased by almost 14% in the last three years, to £692 a month, or £8,300 per year.
The average room to rent in Brighton and Hove also costs over £500 a month.
EasyRoommate revealed that in just three areas – Milton Keynes, High Wycombe and Maidstone – the price of renting is less than the amount flatsharers can afford to pay.
In London, flatsharers must find an average of £94 more a month than they can afford.
Chief Executive of EasyRoommate, Karim Goudiaby, urges: “Our research reinforced the urgent need to replenish the housing supply in Britain with affordable accommodation.
“There is a pressing need to tackle the housing crisis to mitigate inflation with rented room prices and to ensure Britain’s renters can find a room that best suits them and their budget.”1
Separate research from housing charity Shelter found that in the last year, one in five working adults aged 20-34 have moved back in with their parents and a further 15% have never moved out.
It says that more than half of these adults have moved back because of the high cost of housing. A third said they hoped to save for a deposit for their own home and a fifth simply said that renting is too expensive.
Chief Executive of Shelter, Campbell Robb, comments: “When getting even a toe on the housing ladder is completely out of reach and private rents are sky-high, it’s no wonder so many working adults are having to move back into their childhood bedroom.”
He believes that Government schemes, such as Help to Buy and Starter Homes – which will see new houses built sold at 20% below market rates – do not help those on ordinary incomes.
Robb adds: “With plans to sell off many of the few genuinely affordable homes we have left, expensive and unstable private renting or living with mum and dad are the only options.”1
Policy Manager at lobby group Generation Rent, Dan Wilson Craw, says the housing crisis is “much more than a London problem”.
He continues: “Rents are rising anywhere the economy is growing and that makes life harder for people who are already struggling or not enjoying a wage increase.
“For some, moving back in with parents while they accumulate a deposit rent-free is the only way they’ll get a home of their own, but not even that works if the only jobs are at the other end of the country.”1
The most expensive listing on EasyRoommate is a double room in a two-bedroom flat in central London, close to Oxford Circus. The room costs £3,200 per month, or £38,400 a year, and that does not include bills.
The cheapest is in Belfast, at just £165 a month. The average room in the city costs £278.20 per month.