The average cost of renting a house in the UK
Despite rent costs increasing nationally, there are still many benefits to renting compared to buying. In addition to being free from paying maintenance costs and repair bills, renters also have a great deal of flexibility around where they live and how long for.
Another benefit of renting is that it is often more affordable than buying. That said, the cost of renting a house in the UK varies greatly. You might have guessed that London is the most expensive place to rent, but how does this compare to other regions, particularly when considered in proportion to wages?
To determine the most affordable regions to rent in the UK, we looked at the average salaries and rental costs (based on a two-bedroom house in the area) across every corner of the UK. Using this information, we discovered the average percentage of weekly wages that are being spent on rent in each area.
The average cost of renting a house in each UK region
1. North East
Home to the friendliest city in the UK, the North East is also the cheapest place to rent in the UK. With the average two-bedroom house costing £115.38 per week, renters typically spend less than a quarter (23.52%) of their wages on rent, making it a great choice for anyone planning on renting a house in England.
As the largest and most populated city in the North East, Newcastle upon Tyne is less affordable than the regional average. In this city of culture, renting a house can cost 31.85% of the average salary.
The population of Wales makes up only 4.8% of the total UK population, a surprising figure considering its affordability. With rent costing an average of £121.15 per week, alongside a median weekly income of nearly quadruple this, renters in Wales should expect to spend around 27.15% of their wages on rent.
The country’s southernmost city, Cardiff, strays above this average. Despite being one of Europe’s smallest cities, Cardiff remains the largest and most populated city in Wales. As a result, the cost of renting a house is around 33.86% of the average income.
In the northern county of Gwynedd, home to world-famous Mount Snowdon, renters usually spend around 28.03% of their salary on rent. With easy access to Snowdonia National Park, Gwynedd is a popular location for both renters and holidaymakers, giving landlords the opportunity to offer either long-term or short-term accommodation.
3. Yorkshire and the Humber
Yorkshire and the Humber is the fifth largest region in England, housing a population of over 5 million people. On top of the stunning landscapes and vibrant cities, Yorkshire and the Humber also offers excellent value for money when it comes to renting.
The average cost of a two-bedroom house in this region comes in at £128.46 per week. With an average weekly income of nearly £500, residents of Yorkshire and the Humber spend a respectable 27.73% of their wages on rent.
In popular cities, such as Leeds and York, the cost of renting a house can be significantly higher. Both of these locations are bustling university cities with a high demand for student accommodation. As such, the average cost of renting equates to 34.36% and 36.54% of salaries (respectively).
4. North West
The North West covers Manchester, Liverpool, Preston, Wigan, Lancaster, and many other large towns and cities. There is also a wealth of stunning scenery on offer, as the North West is home to the 2,362 square kilometre Lake District National Park, known for its rugged mountains and natural lakes. The average cost of renting a house in the North West equates to 27.90% of residents’ income, with a two-bedroom house costing a median of £140.77 weekly.
There is a great deal of variation in affordability across the North West. At the most affordable end of the spectrum is the borough of Allerdale, tucked away in the Lake District. The average cost of renting a two-bedroom house here is £109.62, which equates to just 20.34% of the average income.
At the other, less affordable, end of the spectrum is the major city of Manchester, where renters can expect to pay double that, at around 43.21% of their salaries.
5. East Midlands
The East Midlands consists of several historic and geographic counties, including Leicestershire, Derbyshire, and Lincolnshire. With a central location and easy access to London, The North, and the east coast of England, the East Midlands is an increasingly popular place to live. With a median weekly pay of £505.10, and rent that costs just 29.70% of that, living in the East Midlands is more appealing than ever.
6. West Midlands
The West Midlands is mid-range in offering the best value for money on house rentals, with a two-bed house costing around £155.77 per week. Despite the cost of renting being higher than in regions further north, the average income is also higher, at a figure of £516.20 per week. This means 30.18% of income is typically spent on rent.
The UK’s second largest city, Birmingham, is situated in the West Midlands. As is often the case with major cities, the cost of living in Birmingham is less affordable than the regional average. A two-bedroom house in Birmingham will cost renters more than £173.08 per week, while the average income will decrease slightly to £496.60.
Covering the northern third of Great Britain is Scotland. Along with having four major cities (populations of over 100,000), Scotland is home to over 790 islands—93 of which are inhabited. With lots to offer, including lively cities and tranquil scenery, many renters are relocating to Scotland, with net migration driving population growth in recent years.
The cost of living in Scotland sees renters spending just under a third (32.13%) of their salaries on rent each week. In the Lothian region, home to Scotland’s capital city of Edinburgh, the cost of renting a house is significantly higher, and as a result, locals spend a larger percentage of their income on rent.
8. South West
Covering everywhere from Gloucestershire to Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, the South West region is home to over 5 million people. Weekly income in the South West is reported to be an average of £507.40, while weekly rent totals £183.46 (36.16% of their income).
When compared with income, house prices around the Forest of Dean were found to be the most affordable in the south west, with locals spending just over a quarter (27.67%) of their income on renting.
On the other hand, renters in the lively city of Bristol are paying almost double this amount, averaging at just over half of their salaries (50.63%). Due to the need for rental properties in this desirable location, Bristol is a great option for those looking to invest in a buy-to-let property.
9. East of England
The East of England is made up of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk, and was found to be another less-affordable area of the UK. The regional average income is reported at £549.10 weekly, while the cost of a two-bedroom house averages £201.92 per week. As such, renters are typically spending 36.77% of their income on rent.
The most affordable spot in the East is the seaside town of Great Yarmouth, known for its long sandy beaches. Renters here are spending around 28.87% of their weekly wages on rent.
Meanwhile, the most expensive location in the East, rivalling London’s prices, is Hertsmere. In the district, the cost of renting a house equates to over half (53.96%) of the average income.
10. South East
The UK’s sunniest region, the South East, is highly sought-after, with rent costing around £229.62 per week. Despite having higher salaries (£568.80 per week), locals still spend an average of 40.37% of their income on rent.
Until 1066, the South East was home to the country’s capital city, Winchester. The average cost of renting in Winchester equates exactly to the regional average at £229.62 per week. Salaries are, however, slightly higher in this city at £631.80 per week (36.34% of their income), making it more affordable than other parts of the South East.
With the stunning South East coastline spanning over 300 miles, many homeowners choose to let out their properties through Airbnb for an additional source of income.
Often referred to as the city of dreams, London is the UK’s hotspot for culture, music, arts, politics, business, and so much more. Unfortunately for those living in London, these perks also come with a hefty price tag, as London is certainly not the cheapest place to rent in the UK.
The cost of rent in London averages around £645.80 per week. This means that despite having the highest earnings in the UK, Londoners typically pay over half of their weekly wage on rent (53.60%).
There is also variation across different local authorities in London. Those living in Camden, for example, may find themselves paying rent equating to 68.53% of their salary. Due to the high cost of renting in parts of London, many people are choosing rent in up-and-coming boroughs, many of which are located in the leafy suburbs.
|Region||Median weekly rent (£)|
|Yorkshire and the Humber||138.46|
Things to consider when renting a property
Whether you’re a tenant looking for somewhere to rent or a landlord looking to let your building to tenants, there are a number of factors you’ll need to consider.
Renting a property as a landlord
Insuring the building
First and foremost, you will need to acquire landlord building insurance. This will cover you against unexpected events such as flooding, subsidence, and fire. Landlord building insurance contains a range of covers, including rebuilding or repairing your building, loss of rent, and malicious damage by tenants. If your property is in an apartment or flat, you should take out block of flats insurance.
Protecting contents within the property
If the property you are renting out is fully or part-furnished, we recommend taking out landlord contents insurance. This ensures that any furnishings, appliances, fixtures and fittings you’ve left for your tenants will be covered in the event of any damage. You can use our quick and easy contents calculator to estimate the value of your belongings within the property.
Choosing the right tenants
Choosing the right tenants is another fundamental part of renting out your property. Conducting a tenant referencing check is absolutely essential. This procedure involves a basic credit check, full referencing check (including rental history), a company check, and a guarantor check.
Renting a property as a tenant
Cost of rent
Take the time to compare different properties and their prices to ensure you are getting the best value for your money. You should also consider whether or not bills are included in the price, as this can add an extra sum to monthly costs.
Quality of the property
Make sure that the property you are renting is in good condition (both interior and exterior). A professional landlord will take care of their property, and it should be in good working condition upon your arrival. If any issues arise, be sure to take photos and notify your landlord immediately.
Insuring your possessions
When living in rented accommodation, the building itself and any furnishings inside will be protected by the landlord. However, your personal belongings will usually not be covered under the landlord’s insurance. Tenants contents insurance will bring you peace of mind knowing that your belongings are insured against damage, fire, theft, and loss.
If you are living in student accommodation, student contents insurance will also provide liability cover for damage to fixtures or fittings.
- Alan Boswell Landlord Building Insurance experts investigated the UK regions where income goes the furthest after rent.
First, we utilised Office of National Statistics to obtain the ‘median weekly pay’ data across UK local authorities.
- The ONS’ ‘median weekly pay’ data showcases the median earnings of people living within each local authority.
- 2022 rent figures were used for England and Scotland, whereas 2019 figures were used for Wales as the most recent data available.
Subsequently, the ‘monthly rent’ data was then gathered using the following reputable sources:
- England: ONS – Private rental market
- Wales: Statswales – Private sector rents (2019 was the latest data available)
- Scotland: Gov.scot – Private sector rent statistics (Note: The data breakdown for Scotland’s local authorities differed between the wage and rent datasets, which resulted in some areas with no data, thus were excluded from the study)
- All the rent figures were calculated as the median of a two bed house in that area and to showcase both a monthly and weekly rent comparison, the figures were then converted by multiplying by 12, and dividing by 52.
Afterwards, the weekly rent was divided by the weekly wages to get the % of wages that go to rent each week.
- Note: Some areas of London have rent figures that have reached 87% of the weekly wages. This is likely due to outliers in the data.
- Finally, the data was broken down by local authority, as well as region (e.g. London, South West, East etc) and presented as the regions with the lowest to highest % of wages spent on rent.
Please note: The data was collected on 09/02/2023 and correct as of then.