One in three renters severely rent burdened

New data from leading flatshare site SpareRoom reveals the shocking proportion of Brits’ salary spent on rent, with 81% of renters in the UK spending more than 30% of their take home pay on rent1.

People spending over 30% of their salary on rent are traditionally considered ‘rent burdened’2, with the majority of Brits now in this category. In fact, over one in three (34%) renters are now spending more than 50% of their salary on rent, rendering them ‘severely rent burdened’.

This means they are likely to have difficulties affording essentials such as food, transport and medical care because rent is eating up their disposable income – a problem only exacerbated by the rising cost of living in the UK.

The data also shows that there has been a considerable shift in what is considered ‘affordable’ when it comes to rental prices. Between 2019 to 2021, the percentage of renters who classified their rent as unaffordable had remained consistent at around one in three3.  Now, over half (54%) of renters deem their rent to be unaffordable.

Women are feeling the strain more than their male counterparts, with 85% spending more than 30% of their salary on rent each month, compared to 77% of men. More than half (59%) of women deem their rent as unaffordable compared to 50% of men, demonstrating that the affordability gap is still very much present. 

Unsurprisingly, the data shows that people in London, South East and South West England are spending a larger proportion of their take-home pay on rent than other regions. In the capital, 86% of renters pay over 30% of their salary on rent, followed by 83% in the South West and 82% in the South East. SpareRoom’s Q1 Rental Index shows that rents are continuing to skyrocket both in the capital and around the UK, with affordability issues not looking likely to ease any time soon.

Matt Hutchinson, SpareRoom director comments: “When it comes to affordability, the rule of thumb was that rent should be around 30% of your salary. This definition was outdated even pre-pandemic, but in the context of a cost-of-living and housing crisis, a 30% benchmark isn’t anywhere close to being realistic.

With over 80% of the UK already rent-burdened, and over a third spending over half of their salary on rent, people are really feeling the squeeze, and rising rents will only cause yet more affordability issues for those renting in the UK. It’s crucial the government understands the severity of this situation and starts to help, or this housing crisis will become a housing disaster. “

More information about the percentage of salary that goes on rent can be found HERE. Do let us know if you’d like to speak to a spokesperson from SpareRoom about the data.

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