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Brexit or not, London is dearest Europe rental location for expats

Rent in London is the most expensive in Europe for expats, new research shows.

The UK capital’s rent averages US$7,189 - that’s £5,187 - per month for a three-bed home according to global mobility company ECA International 

It says that despite widespread economic uncertainty around Brexit, demand for rental accommodation in London remains steady as young professionals are increasingly unable to buy within the M25.


Although rental costs decreased in central London zone one over the past year, rent in outer London remained stable, and the UK capital maintains its position in the top five most expensive for rental accommodation in the world. 

ECA’s annual rental accommodation report analyses the prices for an unfurnished, mid-market, three-bedroom home in areas commonly inhabited by expatriates. 

According to this year’s ECA housing report, the average rent in outer London is on the rise at US$5,543 (£4,000) per month, whereas the average rent in central London has fallen to US$9,701 (£7,000) for a three-bedroom apartment.

“A polarisation of rent changes was observed between properties in central and outer London since the previous year. Rents fell in prime neighbourhoods in London travel zone one, with salaries for top jobs largely stagnant and demand waning. Rents in outer London were more stable but are anticipated to increase with London property purchases growing ever more out of the reach of many Londoners” explains Alec Smith, accommodation services manager at ECA International.

It says the jobs market is relatively buoyant in the UK which has caused a general increase in demand for rental accommodation in some of the UK’s major cities. 

Manchester continues to have the most expensive rental accommodation in the UK outside of London and has re-entered the top 120 most expensive in the world this year. Ranking 30th in Europe and 119th in the world, average rent in Manchester for a three-bedroom home is now US$2,555 (£1,844) per month, £54 more expensive than last year. 

Birmingham has seen the largest rental cost increase in the UK - £110 per month - and is the 36th most expensive city in Europe to rent in.

Smith continues: “Central Manchester has seen a large population growth in recent years and is now widely considered the second most important city in the UK economically. Numerous companies have relocated to the city, fuelling demand for rented accommodation, particularly in central areas.”

Other than Central London, the company says Aberdeen is the only UK city to see a decline in rental costs, dropping by £190 per month.

Glasgow remains the cheapest major city in the UK to rent a three-bedroom home, costing on average US$1,455 (£1,050) per month, £794 less than in Manchester. 

Rent in Edinburgh on the other hand has re-entered the top 50 most expensive in Europe, costing US$2,119 (£1,529) on average per month and up £101 on last year.

“The ongoing decline in the oil and gas industry has reduced the number of overseas renters in Aberdeen. With remaining workers having their housing budgets cut, average rent levels have followed. Changes in Scottish legislation in the past couple of years have affected the supply of rental accommodation in Edinburgh while demand remains strong. Tax increases on the purchase of second homes have increased landlords' costs, while the phasing out of shorthold assured tenancies means many landlords have increased rents to cover the perceived greater risks in renting out their properties” says Smith.

  • Robert Mecaj

    I'm not sure where the ECA is getting its figures from but I don't know many three bedroom properties anywhere past zone 3 that achieve a figure over £3,000pcm. This is why the whole UK economy is warped because of statistical companies making up their figures and just throwing them in our face - then panic strikes. Talk to Zoopla, Rightmove and OnTheMarket as they will be the best to provide such figures.


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