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Renters face growing struggle to pay rising rents

Rent-to-income ratios in the UK have reached unsustainable new highs, forcing renters to spend a third of their wages on rent, according to new data from HomeLet.

Its latest monthly rental index, which analyses more than one million references processed on behalf of letting agents, reveals that rent is also beginning to creep up again - by 0.2% - following a three-month decline. UK rent is up 7% year-on-year, putting the average cost for a rented property at £1,175pcm.

The rent-to-income ratio continues to soar and is 2.3% higher than in 2023. It peaked at 33.5% in January and has not dropped below 33.2% since - the highest figures since HomeLet’s records began.

Mounting costs

CEO Andy Halstead (pictured right) says mounting costs in property management and maintenance have sent rental prices through the roof, which is a lose-lose situation. “Tenants are struggling to sensibly match their wages to monthly rent, and landlords are faced with defaults and vacancies as a result,” he adds.  

“Price rises across most regions in the UK, coupled with an alarming rent-to-income ratio increase, should show the government that now is the time to act - the rental market needs urgent support for both landlords and tenants alike.”

Greater London

The regions seeing the biggest rent increases, of 1.7% and 0.8% month-on-month, were the South West, and Scotland, the East of England and the North East respectively. Greater London is one of the only regions to enjoy another rent drop last month, down by 0.5%.

New data from flat share website SpareRoom backs up these findings, as it reveals average rental prices in Greater London fell from £1,024 in January to £1,009 last month - the first drop since last July, indicating that the rental market in the capital could be showing early signs of recovery, possibly due to supply and demand levels stabilising with more rooms available on the market and fewer potential renters.


Rental market
Cost of living crisis