23 minutes of every hour worked in the UK is spent on rent
New analysis by the National Housing Federation shows that British private renters are paying double the continental average.
Not only are rents in the UK the highest in Europe, they take up the biggest proportion of people’s salaries and are among the least secure.
The average rent in Germany is €600 per month, and €625 in Holland. These are countries where earnings are similar to the UK; and yet the average UK rent is €902 – around 50 per cent more expensive.
These rents also take up the largest share in Europe of people’s pay checks, meaning it is much harder to save to buy a home. UK private renters spend about 40 per cent of their income on rent, compared with the European average of 28 per cent.
People living in houseshares are typically spending about 55 per cent of their income on rent.
To put it another way, that means 23 minutes of every hour worked in the UK is spent on rent, compared to just 17 minutes in the rest of Europe.
The UK rental market also has the shortest tenancies in Europe, meaning there is less stability for renters. According to the National Housing Federation, less than half (43 per cent) of renters across Europe have moved in the last five years, compared to 77 per cent in Britain.
So why do British renters get such a rough deal? The National Housing Federation points out that by European standards, the UK has persistently underinvested in housing.
Between 1996 and 2011 in the UK, just 3 per cent of national GDP was invested in housing, compared to 6 per cent in Germany and 5 per cent in France.
We would need to build 245,000 new homes a year just to keep up with growing demand, and even more to clear the backlog.
David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, said:
“High rents are just one symptom of the housing crisis, we are simply not building enough due to under investment and problems with the land market.
“Housing associations are already helping people across the housing market meet their aspirations, including private renters. But they want to do more.
“By 2033 they want to build 120,000 new homes of all types every year. The government can empower housing associations to do this by freeing up land and providing proper investment.”
Ruby Stockham is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow her on TwitterLike this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.