Across most of London and in more than half of the UK, it's not cheaper to rent a property than it is to buy one. This data comes from recent research by the property company Zoopla, whose findings build on the recent reports that rent prices are rising more slowly than before. Indeed, renters report more or less static prices, and in some cases report rent falling for the first time in 7-8 years.
In London in particular, there's a slowing of overall rental growth. Rent has increased by close to 1.5% over the last year. This rise of rent prices has impacted on the data for the whole of the UK, leading to a rent price increase of 14.6% over a period of approximately six years. When you remove London and analyse the rest of the data, there's around a 10.5% increase in the price of private property renting across the UK.
That being said, rental growth started to slow a few years ago, primarily driven by the shifts in London. The HomeLet Rental Index report illustrates this progressive softening of London rent prices. In the report, there is a 1.2% drop in new rental agreements this year, and this represents the first time rent has fallen for around a decade. In terms of average monthly rent on flats and houses, this means the average is sitting at around £1,500 (which is a drop of around £40-50 over just a couple of months).
Reports from Your Move Buy to Let also indicate that rent price in London is progressively dropping. For example, the average property rented out to tenants in London was £1,203 a couple of months ago, which is almost 8% lower than the average price this time last year. At the time of writing, renting on the east coast of England is second only to London in terms of expense. In the east of England, properties are rented for an average of around £850, with prices approximately 7.5% higher than they were a few months ago.
So this is something to bear in mind when considering if renting is more affordable than buying a property in London.