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Published 10 July 2024
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Where is the Cheapest Place to Rent in the UK?

Knowing the cheapest places in the UK to rent can be a good starting point if you’re looking for somewhere affordable to live. Here’s where rents are lowest right now.

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Finding somewhere affordable to live can be hard. Higher mortgage rates and house prices are frustrating buyers, while rents continue to rise. However,  some parts of the UK are cheaper to rent than others. 

The cheapest cities to rent in the UK

The major city with the cheapest rent in the UK is Kingston upon Hull. The average monthly rent here was £589 in May 2024. The next cheapest city is Stoke-on-Trent, where average rent is £598 per month, followed by Bradford, at £672 a month. 

Annual change Average rent (per month) 
Kingston upon Hull +7.2%£589
Stoke-on-Trent+7.2%£598
Bradford+7.6%£672
Derby+9.3%£748
Liverpool+8.9%£776
Wolverhampton+9.3%£781
Sheffield+10.0%£839
Plymouth+7.0%£887
Nottingham+9.8%£910
Leicester+12.8%£915
Coventry+10.2%£942
Northampton+5.4%£952
Newcastle upon Tyne+5.2%£986

Source: Office for National Statistics (ONS). Private rent and house prices, UK: June 2024. The ONS classifies a city as being major if it has a population of at least 200,000. Luton, Northampton and Reading are designated as towns but may feature due to having populations above 200,000. ONS does not have data for Belfast. 

The UK cities with the most affordable rent (and least)

Stoke-on-Trent is the major UK city where rent is most affordable in relation to average salary. On average, tenants in Stoke-on-Trent will spend 27.6% of their salary on rent each month. Brighton and Hove is the least affordable city to rent, with tenants spending 71% of their monthly salary on rent.   

The cheapest rent by region & country

The cheapest region to rent a home is the North East. In May 2024, the average rent here was £667 per month. Yorkshire & the Humber has the next lowest rents at £789 per month, followed by the East Midlands at £818.  

In Great Britain, Wales has the lowest average rent at £736 per month. Typical rents in Scotland are £957 a month, and in England are £1,301 per month. 

The very lowest rents in the UK 

Away from the major cities, the place in the UK with the cheapest rent is Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland. Here the average monthly rent is £480. Hartlepool is the next lowest at £535 per month, followed by Powys in Wales at £550 per month.

Are rents falling?  

Rents increased in all parts of the UK in May 2024. Rental prices are going up fastest in London, where rental prices are 10.1% higher than a year ago. The next biggest annual increase is in the North West (+9.0%), then the East Midlands (+8.7%). 

The highest rents in the UK 

If you’re wondering which areas of the UK to avoid, the highest rents are in London, where the average monthly rent was £2,086 in May 2024. Of the major cities outside the capital, Bristol has the most expensive rent at £1,759 per month, followed by Brighton and Hove at £1,733 per month. 

Annual change Average rent (per month) 
London+10.1%£2,086
Bristol+7.3%£1,759
Brighton and Hove+7.2%£1,733
Reading+12.9%£1,404
Lothian (Edinburgh)+15.6%£1,343
Portsmouth+11.8%£1,265
Manchester+12.1%£1,214
Greater Glasgow+7.7%£1,187
Southampton+9.9%£1,135
Leeds+7.5%£1,095
Luton+9.0%£1,080
Norwich+7.3%£1,026
Cardiff+12.7%£1,018
Birmingham+12.2%£990

Source: Office for National Statistics (ONS). Private rent and house prices, UK: June 2024. The ONS classifies a city as being major if it has a population of at least 200,000. Luton, Northampton and Reading are designated as towns but may feature due to having populations above 200,000. ONS does not have data for Belfast. 

The cheapest areas to rent in London 

London is the city with the highest average rent in the UK. However, there are significant differences between rents depending on where in the capital you’re looking to live. 

The cheapest rent in London in May 2024 was in Bexley at an average of £1,310 per month. Havering (£1,375), Hillingdon (£1,405), and Croydon (£1,413), are the next cheapest. The highest rent in the capital is in Kensington and Chelsea, at £3,397 per month. 

Annual change Average rent (per month)
Bexley+5.7%£1,310
Havering+10.1%£1,375
Hillingdon+11.2%£1,405
Croydon+11.0%£1,413
Sutton+12.2%£1,417
Barking and Dagenham+8.2%£1,425
Redbridge+8.1%£1,510
Bromley+7.8%£1,527
Enfield+7.4%£1,533
Waltham Forest+7.9%£1,586
Harrow+10.5%£1,591
Kingston upon Thames+6.6%£1,644

Source: Office for National Statistics (ONS). Private rent and house prices, UK: June 2024.

Is it better to rent a house or buy?

Whether renting or buying is right for you will depend on your circumstances and goals. Your financial situation and how long you plan on living in a certain area are usually a couple of key factors to consider. 

Renting may give you more freedom to move, and may allow you to live in an area where you cannot afford to buy. However, you might not be allowed to make changes or redecorate the home as you would like because the property isn’t yours. Renting can also take a significant chunk out of your income making it harder to save a deposit if you want to buy eventually.   

On the other hand, buying a home means the money you pay into a mortgage is benefitting you, instead of going to a landlord. However, the upfront costs of buying, particularly saving a deposit if you’re a first-time buyer, tend to be higher than if you rent. You’ll need to prove to a lender you can afford a mortgage to buy too.  

» MORE: See current mortgage rates

Cheapest UK Rent FAQs

Where is rent cheapest in the UK?

In May 2024, renting was cheapest in the North East (£667), Wales (£736), Yorkshire and the Humber (£789), and the East Midlands (£818). Rents in London (£2,086) and the South East (£1,292) are the most expensive.

How much is rent in the UK?

The average rent in the UK is £1,226 per month, according to Zoopla. It means the cost of renting is 6.6% higher than a year ago.

Is it cheaper to rent or buy in the UK?

Renting means you avoid paying the upfront costs of buying, such as a deposit, stamp duty and mortgage and legal fees. However, as a renter, you can expect to pay a tenancy deposit, rent in advance, and potentially a holding deposit. According to Halifax, the monthly cost to a first-time buyer of owning a home is £1,231, slightly lower than the £1,258 it would cost to rent an equivalent property. However, this can differ depending on where you want to live.

Image source: Getty Images

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