UK tenants 'face highest rents in western Europe'

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The Independent Online

UK tenants face the highest rents in western Europe, research showed today.

It costs an average of £348 a month to rent a room in a shared property in the UK, 75 per cent more than in Spain, where rents average just £199 a month, according to flatshare website Easyroommate.co.uk.

France was the second most expensive country in which to rent a room, but at an average of £285 a month rents were still considerably cheaper than in the UK, while in Italy they averaged £282 a month.

The group blamed the high cost of renting a room in the UK on the lack of mortgage finance currently available, which it said was forcing potential first-time buyers to continue renting, driving up demand.

But it said banks on the Continent were beginning to lend again, with the latest European Mortgage Federation report showing that total mortgage advances in France had risen by 29.2 per cent during 2009, while in Spain they were 6.2 per cent and in Italy they rose by 2.6 per cent.

However, mortgage lending in the UK actually contracted by 21.4% during the same period.



Jonathan Moore, director of Easyroommate.co.uk, said: "The rent is far higher for British flatsharers than it is for their European counterparts.

"The strength of the pound against the euro plays a part - but that's not the whole story.

"Brits are paying more for their accommodation because frustrated first-time buyers are pushing up demand for rental properties."

But despite the UK having the highest average rents, the most expensive city in which to rent a room was Milan in Italy, at a typical cost of £621 a month.

London was the second most expensive place at an average of £551 a month, followed by Rome at £441, Paris at £426 and Nice at £380.

Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds also made it into the list of the top 10 most expensive cities in which to rent a room.

Valencia in Spain is the cheapest place to rent, at an average cost of £207 a month, with Seville and Zaragoza, also in Spain, both also featuring in the top five cheapest cities for renters.

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