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London's depressing rental market in 4 depressing charts

Renters, we’re assured,  will play a key part in the next UK election. In the country as a whole, 35 per cent of us rent; in London, the proportion rises to just over half. Labour are promising to look into rent caps; the Conservatives have launched a rent-to-buy scheme. 

But none of this changes the fact that, in London, rents are really quite high, and they’re only getting higher. To be fair, they’re rising in other areas, too; but in London, which doesn’t do things by halves, they’re rising much faster.

Data released in December by HomeLet, a rental insurance company, shows the year-on-year change in different regions’ rents in the three months to December 2014. Here’s that data, mapped:

Click for a larger image. Source: HomeLet. Data is not adjusted for inflation.

Greater London, with a 12 per cent increase, is the only region where rents rose by more than 10 per cent over the year.

In October 2014, HomeLet released its year-on-year data for the UK’s different regions, but also included figures on rent rises in different parts of London. Among regions outside London, only the West Midlands topped 8 per cent. Meanwhile, nine out of 16 of London’s postcode districts did. They’re the ones in red:

Source: HomeLet. Data is not adjusted for inflation.

This disproportionate rise in London prices isn’t a one-off. HomeLet also created an index showing the percentage difference between London rents and the national average:

Source: HomeLet. 

London’s rents have always been a good deal higher than in the rest of the country: just as you’d expect in a capital city where wages and living costs are higher, too. Since 2012, though, average rents in Greater London have edged up until, by June 2014, they were double the average for the rest of the UK. And, while the results waver from month to month, the overall trend is upwards.

Has this increase come with an similarly huge wage increase, you ask? Ha, ha, no. The median UK pay rise last year was 2.5 per cent. In September, the jobs website Adzuna found that the average advertised salary for London jobs had only grown by 0.6 per cent since 2013. That’s a long way off a 12 per cent increase in rent.

Back in 2013, the Financial Times made a handy tool to show how much of your salary would go on housing in different parts of London. This screengrab shows the results if you were on £22,200, a little lower than the average graduate salary:

Click for a larger image. Source: Financial Times. 

Since then, rents have risen by roughly 12 per cent. If that continued, those orange and red areas could soon extend throughout Greater London. 

Now, if you’ll excuse us, we’re off to househunt in Leeds. 
This article is from the CityMetric archive: some formatting and images may not be present.