Are Average Rent Prices Rising Faster than Average Salaries?

New research conducted by LandlordBuyer reveals that over the past 12 months, average salaries have increased at a higher rate than average private rental costs.

What do the latest rental price and average salary data indicate?

  • In the last 12 months, average rent prices in England have risen by 5.12%. However, weekly regular pay has seen a greater increase of 7.17% during the same period (rising from £572 to £613).
  • Excluding London, the average private rental price in the UK stands at £1,037 per month.
  • London has witnessed its highest-ever annual rental price percentage increase over the past year (since data collection began in 2006). Rental prices in the capital have surged by 5.5% from August 2022 to August 2023.
  • In the April to June 2023 period, annual growth in regular pay (excluding bonuses) reached 7.8%, marking the highest annual growth rate in regular pay since comparable records began in 2001.

Where can one find the most affordable rental regions in the country?

The North East of England leads the way, with monthly rental prices averaging just £636. This is closely followed by Yorkshire and The Humber, where the average rent costs £836 per month.

What are Property Experts saying about the future of the relationship between salaries and rental costs in the country? Jason Harris-Cohen, Managing Director of LandlordBuyer, states:

“The UK’s rental market is subject to a ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’ scenario. While rising wages mean tenants have more take-home pay, income increases are being spent on rising rents. There really is no current advantage to getting a pay rise, especially if it pushes someone into a higher take bracket – they could actually end up with less money.
There will be a tipping point in the private rental market and I don’t think it’s that far away. Landlords will not be able to keep raising rents indefinitely. Each area and property type will have its ceiling limit. Breach this and the landlord runs the risk of rent arrears, with many tenants already struggling with living costs. Pitch the rent too low and the landlord won’t be able to cover their own expenses.
Landlords exiting the market is making matters worse. The more that leave, the less choice there is and increased competition for rentals will naturally push rents up.
A backdrop to all of this is higher mortgage rates. Despite lenders cutting rates in late summer and early autumn, the reductions are minimal – there’s still a huge gulf between the circa 2% rates we saw three, four years ago and the new normal of 5-6%. This is going to come as a huge shock to landlords coming off fixed-rate buy-to-let mortgages. Realistically, but-to-let may soon become a small pool of mortgage-free properties and cash-buying landlords.
Property investors looking for a silver lining will know that high mortgage rates also keep tenants in rented accommodation. Even with house prices slowly drifting downwards, many first-time buyers simply can’t afford the deposit, stamp duty, mortgage arrangement fee, legal costs and monthly mortgage repayments needed to become a homeowner. Therefore it was no surprise that Zoopla recently declared renting was cheaper than mortgage repayments for the first time in 13 years.”


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