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Graham Awards


Renters quit big city centres in search of lower rent locations

Rightmove says growing numbers of renters are leaving Britain’s cities to find a cheaper place to live or to get more for their money.

Across 10 major cities 42 per cent of renters are now looking to move out of the city they currently live in while the remaining 58 per cent are looking to stay in the city. 

This is an increase on 37 per cent looking to leave last year and up from 28 per cent in pre-pandemic February 2020.


London has seen the biggest increase in proportion of renters looking outside the city compared with a year ago, followed by Sheffield and Manchester.

Rents rising at a record pace over recent years and a decline in the number of available properties are likely reasons that a greater proportion of renters are looking outside of the city to secure a home.

Average asking rents across Britain are up 11 per cent compared with this time last year, and up 12 per cent across the 10 major city centres on average.

Edinburgh has seen the largest increase in average asking rents compared with last year (up 19 per cent) followed by Inner London (18 per cent) and Manchester (14 per cent).

Another contributing factor to leaving a city is that demand from renters to secure each available rental property has rapidly increased. Competition to secure a home to rent in a city centre has more than doubled compared with three years ago.

Some good news for renters from Rightmove is that competition between tenants is easing slightly compared with the record levels of last year. 

Compared with last year, tenant demand for each available rental home across Great Britain has dropped by four per cent and the number of available homes to rent has increased by eight per cent.

Renters are also looking in a wider spread of areas than they did before the pandemic. The average spread of areas a renter considers when moving has nearly doubled since February 2020 to 122 kilometres squared as renters cast their net wider to find a home.

The impact of financial uncertainty and the rising cost of living is demonstrated in the way renters are looking for their next home. The latest data suggests tenants are less certain about how much they can afford to pay when beginning their search for a home to rent.

Over one third of renters across Britain end their search with a property that is cheaper than the first one they contacted an agent about, up from 31 per cent three years ago. For those who can afford it, more renters are also ending their search with a more expensive property than the first one they contacted an agent about, up from 34 per cent three years ago to 42 per cent now.

With both figures rising, it shows tenants are less likely to stick to a budget during the course of their search, and more likely now to either look for somewhere cheaper, or budget for somewhere more expensive, in order to secure a home.

Rightmove’s property expert Tim Bannister says: “The latest rental market trends demonstrate how cost pressures and the imbalance between supply and demand are changing the way tenants search for their next home. 

“We’re seeing that a greater proportion of prospective buyers are looking for a home in the city they live in, but it’s the opposite trend for renters who may be finding that they’ve been priced out of the city or have decided to move further out to reduce their overall bills. 

“Some good news for renters is that some competition with other tenants and pressure on available homes to rent seems to be easing, however with the pace of the lettings market still strong, it is likely to be a challenging experience for many looking to secure a home that suits their needs and budget.”

City centre

Average asking rent per calendar month

February 2023

Average asking rent growth compared with February 2022

Birmingham City Centre



Bristol City Centre



Edinburgh City Centre



Glasgow City Centre



Leeds City Centre



Liverpool City Centre



Inner London



Manchester City Centre



Nottingham City Centre



Sheffield City Centre




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