EDINBURGH’S rental property market is the least affordable in Scotland, and second only to London, figures have shown.
An analysis of the private rental sector in 16 cities across the UK calculated the most expensive and the cheapest places to rent, compared with local incomes.
It revealed that Edinburgh was the least affordable in Scotland, with rent costs taking up 47 per cent of net income, on a par with Birmingham, and second only to London, where renters part with 49 per cent of net earnings to keep a roof over their heads.
When it comes to the cheapest, Glasgow was placed fifth equal with Norwich, with rents in both cities eating into 35 per cent of a person’s income.
The figures, released by rental insurance company HomeLet, also show that the average cost of rents across Scotland fell by 4.4 per cent, from £614 to £587 between September and October this year, though analysts say this is a common seasonal drop.
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However, when compared year-on-year, rents in Scotland have risen by 2.6 per cent from £572 in October last year. Despite this increase, the average Scottish rentals figure is still well behind the average UK rent, excluding the Greater London area, of £675, a rise of 4.9 per cent from October 2013.
Molly Chesney, head of marketing for HomeLet, said: “You have pockets of cheaper rents, in comparison to the UK as a whole and super-desirable areas within them, and that’s what we seem to have with Edinburgh – it seems to be the attraction of a desirable city.
“Of course, lack of affordability always hits those who do not have the income to afford the rents but want or need to live in the city.
“London has the edge on everywhere else in this situation, and what many people do to get around this problem is that they flat share because they tell themselves that it’s more important to live in the city than outside the city or in an area that doesn’t suit people’s lives so much. The attractions simply outweigh the drawbacks.”
A recent CityLets report showed that Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Glasgow had all recorded “inflation-busting” rental growth during the third quarter of this year, traditionally a busy period, which it said raised “serious questions over widespread urban supply”.
The Scottish Government is currently consulting on proposed major reforms of the law which governs the Scottish rental market.
Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, which has campaigned for a fairer rental sector, said that lack of affordability inevitably had a negative effect: “This comes as no surprise to Shelter Scotland and people living in the private rented sector in Edinburgh. High rents in cities like Edinburgh and Aberdeen have a knock-on effect for the entire community.
“With more than 300,000 households now reliant on the private rented sector in Scotland we launched our Make Renting Right campaign to raise awareness and build public support to make the private rented sector fairer and fit for all.
“We want to see a sector that thrives and is a positive experience for both tenants and landlords, where rents are stable, rent rises are predictable and where families can put down roots in their community.”
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