north south

What are the most affordable cities in England to rent in?

Smaller cities in the north dominate the list of the most affordable cities to rent in when looking at what percentage of people’s monthly salaries go towards rent.

More than half of the cities in England are considered unaffordable to rent in, but smaller cities in the north lead the rental market in affordability. Property Reporter analysed research by Open Property Group about the most and least affordable cities to rent in across England by using average income salary and rental price figures for the cities. Experts advise tenants to not spend more than 30% of their gross income on rent in order to maintain an adequate standard of living.

Jason Harris-Cohen, managing director of Open Property Group, said: “It is noteworthy that the north/south divide is highly evident, demonstrating the low rental values in all cities north of Warwick.

“Despite the sales market being challenging, the rental market has remained buoyant and constrained availability of stock, thus keeping prices strong.”

The most affordable city to rent in is Durham, which costs an average of £493 per month and is estimated to take only 23% of residents’ monthly income. Rentals in Liverpool and Lancaster require people on average to spend 24% of their salary per month on rent, costing £499 and £555 respectively. Hull, Stoke-on-Trent, Bradford, Carlisle, Sunderland and Chester follow with tenants using an average of 25% and 26% of their monthly income for rent.

Opt for Preston over Manchester

Preston rounds out the top 10 most affordable cities with rent costing £547, an average of 27% of people’s monthly income. An interesting point to look at is the difference in affordability compared to the neighbouring city of Manchester. Manchester is the ninth least affordable city in England with rent costing £839 per month, which is 42% of tenants’ monthly salaries.

The UK’s newest city, Preston, is an important commuter location for Manchester. It’s become a hotspot for homebuyers and investors and offers more affordable property prices and rental costs than Manchester, attracting tenants, buyers and buy-to-let investors alike as the lower price points open Preston up to a wider range of budgets.

Tenants in south pay half salaries on rent

Unsurprisingly, the 10 least affordable cities to rent in are predominately in the south. Brighton, Bath and Oxford are the top three least affordable with monthly rents all more than £1,275, taking up a whopping 51% and 52% of tenants’ average income. Exeter and Bristol follow in fourth and fifth. And despite average rental costs in the City of Westminster coming to £2,832, wages are higher in the capital so that amounts to 43% of people’s monthly salaries.

Smaller cities in the north boast more affordable rents and property prices than many cities in the south. That is likely leading many tenants, homebuyers and investors to leave London and the south for regional cities across the north where you can get more for less money.

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