Monday, 11 October 2010

Spread of rents in the UK housing market

Good evening blog readers, I'm in the process of moving house. I'd been meaning to move away from Wembley and closer to work for a while and now, well, to be honest I'm of no fixed abode until I get keys to the new place some time next week.

Anyhoo, it took a while to find somewhere to live. We had a budget, around £800 per month, no more than £900. We wanted a two bedroom place so one room could be an office/studio/den/spare bedroom, but a one bedroom place would be okay if it was nice. I had location stipulations, nearer to where I work in Enfield than Wembley, and also closer to ways into London town centre of gigs an stuff.

Other people in the househunting game have other stipulations, such as, not in the east and near on of those cool west London tube lines.

Here, take a look at RightMove, London doesn't really really cater for the two bedroom less than £800 a month west dweller.

No matter how hard you look, there's always going to be something better in that price range towards the east.

The concept of 'cheap' two bedroom doesn't exist in west London.

Its been a while since I was out looking for a two bedroom flat, in fact last time was around ten years ago, in Glasgow. We got a rather executive city centre flat for £575 a month, that was expensive for Glasgow. But for London, that's not even on the radar for the cheap end of the market.

There isn't even a cheap bit of London with the shittest two bed flats for around that. I know inflation exists, but no no.

Anyhoo, so I like graphs and stuff. I went onto RightMove and started scraping.

This is a graph of the distribution of two bedroom flat rental prices in Glasgow from RightMove. It tells us that if you're looking for a £800 two bed there, you can pretty much get any flat on the market. A shitty flat in a shitty area will cost £400 a month and a decent one will cost £800. Sure there are more luxurious city centre ones over a grand, but most of the market is within your grasp.

Its not just Glasgow that's that cheap, here's a look at the spread in Glasgow and Manchester. Its the same spread.

Sure, Manchester is a touch more expensive. The average being £628 per month compared to Glasgow's £593 per month, but there's not much in it.

Anyhoo, here are all the price spreads that I scraped off of RightMove.

Yes its hard to see what's going on there, suffice to say there's a wide spread of rental prices comparing different cities and towns in the UK. That's kind of obvious to all.

You'll have heard of the north/south divide, or how London is horrendously expensive compared to the rest of the world and it gets cheaper the further from London you go.

So to illustrate this here's a graph of average rent for a two-bed in different parts of the UK, with latitude along the y-axis and price along the x-axis.

The rent floor for the UK seems to be £490 a month. No town has an average rent much below this. Sure, some of the vilest shitholes will be cheaper, and there's always flatshare.

London is generally more expensive than anywhere else in the UK. Even the cheap bits of London are more expensive.

Here's a wee graph of the spreads of various places in that expensive latitude around London.

I've cut off the x-axis at £1500 per month cos above that it gets rather depressing. Do you really want to know that the average rent in West Hampstead is £1710 a month an Tower Hamlets is £1570? Around three times more than double the average in most of the UK.

The other day Raedwald blogged about how Middlesbrough was well cheap, you could buy a four bedroom house there for £132,000. But that still not quite scraping the barrel.

I use to joke with people that I could quit my job and move to Hull and live in a nicer flat just on my Job Seekers allowance. But it appears there are cheaper places than even Hull. Carlisle for example.

Here, this is my wee list of the average 2-bed rent in various places in the UK.
£1,711.15 - West Hampstead
£1,569.78 - Tower Hamlets
£1,530.41 - Bethnal Green
£1,394.95 - Brixton
£1,252.63 - Wembley
£1,173.56 - Brighton
£1,144.02 - Enfield
£1,093.44 - Uxbridge
£1,031.45 - Walthamstow
£955.47 - Croydon
£874.05 - Reading
£869.32 - Slough
£828.37 - Chelmsford
£783.09 - Edinburgh
£775.00 - Burnham on Crouch
£755.04 - Portsmouth
£736.06 - Bristol
£692.54 - Plymouth
£668.94 - Cardiff
£666.67 - Birmingham
£664.54 - Colchester
£648.22 - Newcastle upon Tyne
£645.89 - Norwich
£627.92 - Manchester
£617.50 - Leicester
£606.42 - Liverpool
£597.65 - Sheffield
£592.19 - Glasgow
£581.67 - Swansea
£578.26 - Moss Side
£576.36 - Nottingham
£553.09 - Coventry
£516.23 - Doncaster
£507.14 - Bolton
£504.90 - Rochdale
£504.41 - Middlesbrough
£497.64 - Bradford
£496.24 - Hull
£479.17 - Carlisle
Thrilling stuff, I'm sure you'll agree.

Does this open up some interest questions about the nature not just of Housing Benefit, but also Job Seekers Allowance in the UK, and who pays for who.

Playing around on Excel instead on OpenOffice Base, I've put together this surface graph of the spreads in each of the aforemention towns, and done it so it looks a little like the cover to Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures.

Its going to be a wee while until I can get on a 'puter that can run better graphing software.


  1. Just like the slow take supply of property in the UK, buyers and sellers remain cautious making the market fairly static. Good thing that stimulus programs such reduction in VAT, interest rates and banking bailout helped homeowners to be in-control in the recession period.