Swindon is the best value town for renters to live and work in, with workers in the area spending the smallest slice of their pay cheques on rent, according to new research by job search engine Adzuna.
The study compared average advertised salaries with average rental figures in towns and cities across the UK, revealing which pockets of the country offer the best value for money in terms of living and working.
Workers in Swindon are paid an average of £38,869 a year, yet average monthly rents remain relatively affordable at £595, equal to just 11.5% of the average monthly salary.* This leaves Swindon workers with £2,293 to take home each month after paying rent, the greatest figure of any UK town.
The second best value town for renters is Bradford, where workers receive lower average pay of £29,493 but where rents make up just 11.8% of monthly salaries, leaving workers with £1,735 in their pockets after paying their rent. Hull (11.9%), Dudley (12.8%) and Durham (12.9%) round off the top 5 best value locations.
By contrast, Londoners spend a huge 40.8% of their pay cheques on rent each month, the most of any town or city in the UK, with average rental properties costing £2,234 per month in the capital. This leaves Londoners with just £1,622 left after paying rent, despite their higher average salaries.
Similarly, workers in Oxford (39.1%), The Wirral (37.2%), Brighton (36.6%) and Guildford (36.4%) are also spending huge chunks of their salaries on rent.
Oxford is the biggest rent trap
To add insult to injury, 95% of properties in Oxford are unaffordable to first-time buyers, forcing a cycle where many renters are stuck spending a fortune on rent while also being unable to save for a deposit.
House prices in Oxford average £533,731, compared to an average salary of £34,380, or £68,760 for a couple. Even with a substantial 20% deposit saved, and assuming qualifying for borrowing of 4.1x salary, this means only 5.1% of properties on offer remain affordable to first-time buyers in the city.
Brighton is the second least affordable location to buy, with just 6.0% of homes within reach to first-time buyers. Winchester comes third with 6.4% of properties affordable, with Reading (8.3%) and London (9.7%) completing the top 5 rent trap towns.
Doug Monro, co-founder of Adzuna, comments: “Rent payments are really eating into the salaries of workers in our most expensive locations, with cities like London and Oxford proving the worst value for money locations. Even though workers may be paid a higher monthly salary, their left over cash is often smaller after paying steep living costs and local property premiums. Workers in London and Oxford also face the biggest battle to escape the rental trap and get on the property ladder, with just a small proportion of properties affordable to couples in these cities. Coupled with harder conditions for saving, the outlook for wannabe homeowners in these areas is looking gloomy.
“Alternative locations like Swindon and Bradford offer a much more attractive deal, with workers left with plenty of cash after paying cheaper rents. This makes Swindon workers the richest in real terms, taking home the most after paying rent - and it offers the best opportunities to save.”