Renting a home in England has become increasingly difficult due to the dwindling availability of places and the soaring prices that have reached record levels in some areas within the past month. This unfavourable inflation is unlikely to stop any time soon, as according to the Bank of England’s most current Financial Stability Report (July 2023), “many landlords are likely to seek to raise rents to offset their higher costs.”
Regardless of the conditions, however, renting their home is the only choice for a large portion of the population. Therefore, the team at Prompt Cleaners decided to identify where in England leasing a home is most affordable. To do so, our team at PromptCleaners took data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) for the mean rental prices and the average salaries in the different administrative areas in England. We then calculated the mean rent as percentage of the average salary for the respective regions and areas:
The current report ranks the nine regions of England as well as the localities with the lowest and highest salary percentages spent on rent. Data was collected for a total of 355 administrative areas, as reported in the latest data published by the Office for National Statistics. We used the Employee Earnings in the UK and Index of Private Housing Rental Prices, UK datasets.
The ONS presents the two statistics differently – the average (mean) salaries are shown per week, while the average rental rates are per month. We multiplied the weekly average pay by 4 to make the data more consistent. While we did our best to ensure that monthly pay figures are as precise as possible, they should be considered estimates.
Areas in England with the Most Cost-Effective Rent Price Levels
Having a mean monthly rent of £597 and monthly salaries averaging £2,215.20, the North East is the most affordable region in England in terms of renting. Interestingly, however, neither of the top 5 administrative areas with the most cost-effective rental price levels are located there.
Hyndburn, located in the North West of England, proves the assertion that salary size has little to do with the affordability of rent. With average monthly pay estimated at £2,349.60, the district ranks 203rd in the Employee Earnings in the UK dataset published by the ONS. However, due to relatively low mean rent levels (£509 per month), local employees spend just 21.66% of their salaries on rent – the lowest percentage in England.
Three more localities in the North West are among the top 10 most affordable places to rent a home – Copeland (2nd place), Allerdale (3rd place), and Burnley (5th place). The portion of the monthly salaries that local employees set aside for rent is 22.10%, 22.9%, and 23.63%, respectively.
The second English region with the most affordable residential rental prices is Yorkshire and the Humber. The comparison between the neighbouring North East Lincolnshire UA and North Lincolnshire UA is quite intriguing. The difference between the average rents in these two areas is £35 (£526 vs £561) but the salary percentage spent on rent is nearly the same – 23.44% and 23.79%. With a £538 mean monthly rent and salaries averaging £2,217.2 per month, Barnsley town ranks 9th in terms of rent affordability.
The top 10 areas where renting a home is most cost-effective are rounded up by Hartlepool UA (6th place), Darlington UA (7th place), and County Durham UA (10th place). The employees in the three North Eastern localities spend 23.68%, 23.72%, and 24.39% of their average monthly earnings on rent, respectively.
Areas in England Where Renting Is Least Affordable
We decided to check which areas in England are the most costly to live in as a renter, as it turned out that the gap between them and those already examined is quite substantial. It is hardly surprising that localities from the London region prevail. In fact, only two of the administrative areas among the top 10 with the highest salary percentage spent on rent are not located there – Oxford (58.02%) and Bristol, City of UA (61.4%).
Westminster is the area in England where the highest percentage of salary (79.36%) is needed to cover the average monthly rent – £3,036 vs £3,825.6. According to the Office of National Statistics, the mean monthly pay in 322 of the 355 areas in the Employee Earnings in the UK dataset cannot cover the average rental prices in Westminster.
Other areas in the London region where renting is particularly less advantageous are Camden, Hammersmith & Fulham, Inner London, Southwark, Merton, Hackney, and Kensington and Chelsea. The portion of the mean monthly salaries that local employees need to set aside for rent varies between 59.53% and 67.47%.