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How Affordable Are Rents in Great Britain?

An in-depth analysis from Zoopla has reported the trends in the affordability of private renting across the UK since 2007. The study focused on working households where almost 75% of private renters work full or part-time and tracked the average rent for a 1-3 bed property over the past 12 years, which is expressed as a percentage of average weekly net earnings for a single full-time worker.

At a national level, rents have ranged between 28% and 32% of average earnings over the last decade. The current proportion of earnings spent on rent is 30% - exactly in line with the long run average. Zoopla also found wide regional variations in rental affordability, which it says is a result of different levels of rental growth.

Rental growth has varied widely across Great Britain since 2007
The analysis shows that factors such as migration, employment growth and the relative affordability of homeownership have influenced rents and rental growth in Great Britain. Rents have grown the most in the East of England (23%) and the West Midlands (20%) since 2007.

London and the South East, however, have seen the highest absolute average rents, with both registering rental growth of 18% since 2007 – although growth has weakened in the last two years.

In contrast, rents have grown by just 1%, 5% and 9% in the North East, North West and Yorkshire and the Humber respectively in the same period.

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