Ten tenants chase every room in top Scots flats

Demand sparks 'crisis' in home letting market. Picture: Stephen Mansfield
Demand sparks 'crisis' in home letting market. Picture: Stephen Mansfield
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RENTERS in Aberdeen are battling for a place in the most sought after flatshares – with ten people competing for every room advertised.

Prices in the Granite City are the second highest in the UK after London, due to high demand for shared accommodation.

Monthly room rents in Aberdeen have increased by 39 per cent in the past two years to £568 – well above the national average of £505 per month.

Experts have warned of a “crisis” in the supply of rented accommodation across Scotland and said the high demand in Aberdeen was chiefly due to the city’s property boom, which has seen the option of buying become unaffordable for more people, forcing them to continue renting for longer.

Aberdeen must accommodate a large number of temporary workers, many of whom work in the oil industry and may be on short term contracts or only need a room during the working week.

The report showed that Glasgow, with 7.12 people looking for every room advertised, is also almost as busy as London, which has 7.35 flat hunters for every room available, while in Edinburgh, although much lower at 4.64, demand is still above the national average.

Rents for a room in Scotland’s capital are more than £75 less than the UK average at £433, while renters in Glasgow typically pay £377 a month.

“Such fierce competition for rooms is a sign of the continued financial mire in the UK,” said Matt Hutchinson, director of SpareRoom.co.uk.

“With more people flatsharing for longer in order to try and save for a deposit, or to free up cash to cover living costs, rooms in flatshares are in high demand.

“Aberdeen has seen a huge increase in average room rents in the past year and is experiencing a boom almost unheard of outside London, with house prices having more than doubled in the past decade. Flatsharing is no longer purely for students or those in their early twenties.

“Equally, the standard of flatshares is improving fast as landlords realise the demand for quality.”

Malcolm Warrack, chairman of LetScotland – the Association of Professional Letting Agents in Scotland, said: “Renting is becoming an increasingly popular option for a whole range of people, and crucially they are doing it for longer. We are seeing young professionals sharing rental accommodation for longer and not buying until much later in life. In a working world where young people need to be mobile, renting suits their circumstances.”

Steve Tigar, managing director of website Lettingweb.com, said: “This research accords with Lettingweb.com’s. We are facing a crisis in the supply of rented accommodation.

“Our message to people looking to rent through Scottish letting agents is simple – get in there quickly or you’ll lose it.”

Increase in first-time buyers but deposits ares still a problem

The number of first-time buyers grew by around one-fifth in 2013, marking the strongest annual increase in more than a decade.

There were around 265,000 first-time buyers in the UK in 2013, showing the highest annual total since 2007 and lifting by 22 per cent from an estimated 218,000 in 2012, according to Halifax, based on a combination of Council of Mortgage Lenders’ figures and its own.

Meanwhile, the number of mortgage approvals made to home buyers reached the highest levels in nearly six years, according to separate figures from the Bank of England.

Some 70,758 loans worth £11.1 billion were approved for house purchase in November, marking the highest total seen since 72,004 loans were given the green light in January 2008.

Halifax said the 22 per cent increase in the number of first-time buyers is the strongest annual rise seen since 2001, now accounting for 44 per cent of all house sales, up from 40 per cent in 2012

Martin Ellis, a housing economist at Halifax, said: “Low interest rates, improvements in consumer confidence and Help to Buy, all appear to have contributed to the rise in the number of first-time buyers.

“However, many potential first-time buyers continue to find raising the necessary deposit a problem.”