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Cheaper rents in Northern Ireland, but house prices continue to suffer

Competitive rents make Northern Ireland the cheapest place to live in the UK, according to new data. The figures look at how much of a renter’s average gross monthly income is spent on renting a home. In July, tenants in Northern Ireland paid on average 25.7% of household income on rents each month - down 0.1% from 12 months ago.

Northern Ireland is the only place where rents have dropped in real terms - although the North East of England saw no change. Unsurprisingly, London was the most expensive place to live, soaking up 36.2% of a household’s average monthly income on rent. Buy to let rents were up 4.5% in the year - from an average £625 a month in July 2017 to £653 in July 2018. The data from tenant referencing company Homelet means wages are rising faster than rents, making homes cheaper to let in Northern Ireland.

The average UK rent hit £937 a month in July - 1.8% up on July 2017, when the figure was £925 a month. When data for London is stripped from the figures, the average UK rent drops to £777 a month, an increase of 1% on last year. The average rent in London stands at £1,615 a month - up 3.3% in the year.

A separate study revealed house prices in Belfast have struggled to grow in the 10 years that have passed since the global financial crisis. The statistics from property consultancy Hometrack reveals the average home costs £129,700 in Belfast, which is an annual increase of 3.2% but still 28% below the cost of the same home in 2008.

Richard Donnell, insight director at the consultancy, said: “The fact house prices in some of our biggest cities are still recovering from the financial crisis shows how big an impact it had on the UK's regional housing markets.

“While 2008 was the year when house prices fell at their fastest rate, they continued to fall for a further three to four years in the weaker performing markets as the impact of the recession and restricted credit availability hit the value of people's homes.

“These past 10 years would have been difficult for many homeowners living in these cities, with low prices and weak growth making it difficult to move homes for work or to up-size to accommodate growing families.”


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