Cumbria Times
Weekend Edition
1:00 AM 6th February 2024

Under-30s Can Forget About Renting As Just 7% Of Areas Classed As Affordable For New Tenants

Image by Jörg Hertle from Pixabay
Image by Jörg Hertle from Pixabay
Research by Zero Deposit, the tenancy deposit alternative, has revealed that under-30s face an almost impossible task when it comes to current rental affordability, with just 7% of the market classed as affordable when it comes to the cost of a rental deposit coupled with their first month’s rent.

The company analysed average monthly rent prices in each of the UK’s 361 local authority (LA) areas, and average incomes of each age bracket or renters. They then looked at what percentage of local authorities were realistic when it came to rental market affordability, based on 50% of the average renter's monthly income in relation to the combined cost of an upfront five week deposit and the first month’s rent.

Why 50% of their monthly income? The 50/30/20 ratio is a widely accepted rule that states it is reasonable for someone to spend 50% of their income on needs and expenses that must be met, such as rent, 30% on wants, such as lifestyle non-essentials, and 20% for savings or paying off debts.

The cost of rent

The high cost of renting is no secret and currently, the average UK rent comes in at £921 per month. London and the South East have the most expensive regional averages, standing at £1,873 per month and £1,148 per month respectively, while at local authority level, the monthly cost of renting in the City of Westminster is an eye-watering £3,154 - the highest in the UK.

Upfront deposit creates a larger financial obstacle

But it’s not just the high cost of monthly rent that poses a financial obstacle to tenants. There’s also the upfront cost of a deposit to take into account, which stands at £1,063 at five weeks for the average UK rental property. With this cost often coming within the same month as the first month’s rent is due, that’s a total of £1,913 required for the average UK tenant to secure a rental property.

With the average UK salary coming in at £2,950 per month, the cost of securing a rental property is out of reach for the average UK tenant based on their entire monthly income, let alone a 50% allowance of £1,475.

Under-30s face toughest task

The analysis shows that under-30s face the toughest task when it comes to the initial cost of renting.

The average salary for an 18-21 year old comes in at £1,232 per month, meaning that 50% of their monthly income (£616) would be enough to cover the monthly cost of renting in just 11% of local authorities across the UK.

However, once you add the additional requirement of an upfront deposit, 18-21 year olds are unable to afford the initial cost of renting in every single UK local authority.

It doesn’t get much better for those aged 22-29. Zero Deposit found that half of the average monthly income for this age group averages £1,202. While this is enough to cover the cost of a month’s rent in 78% of UK local authorities, this proportion falls to just 7% when with the additional cost of an upfront deposit included.

Moving within the rental market is more realistic for those in older age groups. Tenants aged 30-39 could afford the cost of a rental deposit and an initial months rent in 32% of local authorities, climbing to 46% for those aged 40-49 and 39% for those aged 50-59.

Sam Reynolds, CEO of Zero Deposit commented:
“The high cost of renting is well documented but as our research shows, tenant affordability is dramatically reduced when taking the cost of an upfront deposit into account. So much so, that just a tiny proportion of the rental market is realistically affordable for those under the age of 30.

"Removing this high, upfront cost would, at least, give them a fighting chance at finding an affordable rental property, but as it stands, the financial obstacle they face is simply too large to overcome for many renters.

"The result? Many are forced to look further afield for affordable rents or give in to the inevitability that they have to allocate a far larger proportion of their income to covering the cost of rent, leaving them with very little to get by on for the rest of the month.

"The decision faced by many is whether to take on a greater financial burden or face the reality of not being able to secure a rental property. The level of competition has never been greater. This simply won’t change until the Government addresses the chronic undersupply of property in the UK and in equal measure, provides sufficient incentives for landlords to invest in the rental market.”

Data tables and sources can be viewed online, here.