Flat-sharing is booming in the wake of the credit crunch as young professionals denied mortgage finance search for cheap rental alternatives.
Since the banking collapse two years ago, the UK’s flat-sharing population has jumped by 59,000 to 2.765 million, with about 650,000 sharing in London.
Flat-sharers typically save £5,525 a year over renting a property alone. The average London room rent is £538 a month (bills included).
Traditionally, students have been the main flat-sharers but they represent only a third in the capital, with young professionals making up the bulk of renters, as popularised by the hit Nineties TV drama This Life, about law graduates sharing a south London house.
Ironically, this generation of flat-sharers who went on to become owners are now the new landlords.
“There’s been a surge in the number of thirtysomethings who have had to let rooms following redundancy or a pay cut,” says Jonathan Moore of website easyroommate.co.uk. Other owners feeling the pinch are taking in lodgers and pocketing a tax free-income of up to £4,250 a year. The average live-in landlord makes £6,450 a year.
London-wide agent Winkworth says tenant registrations were up by 47 per this summer. Rents are five per cent higher year on year and continuing to rise.
Londoners can compare rents across the capital by using a new interactive “Rents Map” website set up by Mayor Boris Johnson. According to the Valuations Office, the average room rent is £91 per week, while the average cost of renting a two-bedroom property is £231 per week. Visit london.gov.uk/rents.