The unprecedented demand and high prices in the UK’s city rental market are forcing young renters to delay major personal and professional life decisions, and taking a toll on their well-being, new research on the crisis shows.
A new survey published by Spare Room finds that 98% of renters are concerned about the current state of the market, with rent and demands at historic highs and supply at a ten-year low; 97% say the prospect of house hunting makes them anxious, and not without good reason.
Over the past few months, finding a new place to live has been harder than ever, with the number of new monthly listings on SpareRoom across the UK now 30% lower than in February 2020, while the number of people actively searching on the site is up by 44%.
Across the UK in February, there were 5.4 people looking for every listing on SpareRoom, lower than late summer when it reached eight prospective tenants per list, but still double the pre-pandemic level.
This demand is also driving up prices. The average SpareRoom listing is now £748, up 15% from three years ago. In London, it’s now £962 for a room, 21% higher than pre-pandemic.
The state of the market is having a huge impact on people’s life plans. Of those surveyed who hadn’t moved in the past 18 months, 72% said they wanted to move, but had ultimately chosen to stay.
Of these, 82% said a key reason was due to a lack of properties within their budget, while almost half said the standard wasn’t high enough.
As prospective renters report viewings with dozens of people lined up outside, 33% said they didn’t move because places were being let too quickly.
And the impact of the rental crisis is spreading far beyond just living situations: 73% said the current rental market was negatively impacting their career progression, and two-thirds said they would consider turning down a job opportunity to avoid having to look for a new place in the current rental market.
Almost nine out of ten respondents said they had postponed or put on hold major life plans because of the rental market. Almost two-thirds said they had wanted to move into their own place but hadn’t been able to because of affordability, while 30% said they’d had to postpone plans to go travelling.
Of those surveyed, 15% said they wanted to move in with a partner but haven’t been able to do so, and a similar proportion has postponed family planning. One in 20 have even delayed their wedding.