Single Britons Spend Half of Income on Rent as One-Bed House Prices Soar

Man browsing properties
A man browses properties on display in the window of an estate agent in London on April 8, 2008. In 2016, the average cost of renting a one bedroom home in London is £1,133 per month. Cate Gillon/Getty

The cost of renting a one-bedroom property in the U.K. has soared in the past decade.

The index from lettings network Countrywide found, on average, a single working person aged between 22 and 29 years old and renting a one bedroom home would spend 48 percent of their post-tax income on their rent, up from 45 percent in 2007. The average cost of renting a one-bedroom home in Britain is £746 per month, the index found.

However, in London, a private-sector renter aged in their 20s can typically expect to pay 57 percent of their post-tax income on their rent. This is a 16 percentage point increase compared with 2007, when 41 percent of post-tax income went on rent for this age group.

The average cost of renting a one bedroom home in London is £1,133 per month. Rent increases in London have increased at a much faster pace than incomes in recent years, the report said.

Rents in London, which has high concentrations of rental properties, have increased by 48 percent since 2007—more than four times faster than incomes, which have increased by 11 percent—putting tenants in London under increasing affordability pressure, Countrywide said.

Across Britain generally, rents have increased by 27 percent since 2007, outpacing a 16 percent growth in incomes, according to the report.

Johnny Morris, research director at Countrywide, said: "In most parts of Great Britain, rising incomes have softened the impact of increasing rents. For more than half of the country, rents now take up less of the average person's take-home pay than before the downturn in 2007.

"But in London rents have risen much faster than wages, stretching affordability. Many tenants have adapted to rising prices by either moving to cheaper areas, further from the centre, or sharing."