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Cheapest area for young people to rent - fact-checked!

Jamie Campbell

Jamie Campbell

3 years ago - 3 minute read

Every renter has thought “am I paying too much?”

Refinery29 reached out to their community and asked them what their renting situation looked like and 19 renters across the UK responded. In the report they shared how much rent they pay per month and what they get for their money

But are these 19 people typical? Is this the average renter experience? We took their data, did some fancy data science (aka copy and pasted it into an excel spreadsheet, the government’s favourite data tool) to see what we could find. Here’s the results.

Is it a good indication of the average area price?


I’ve used the fortnightly rent price data captured by to compare the prices of the 19 R29 readers with similar properties in their area. I took the median rather than the mean average as it’s less likely to be skewed by significantly cheap or expensive rental properties.

Here’s the comparison based on the total property cost per month:

Nice work to almost all of the Refinery29 renters who are paying slightly less than the median in their area.

They had partners. Not only do they have love, they have better properties.

Those in couples not only pay less but have a spare room to use as a home office. This is typical outside of the R29 article: couples are usually £102 a month wealthier per head than single people. People sharing (non-couples) also benefited but were less likely to gain the extra room, just cheaper rent.

If you are single and you love having space to yourself, living in Teesside or Belfast are the best options for low rent and getting a place with a spare room. Otherwise it might be time to consider getting on bumble/hinge/tinder to improve your living situation.

How can we compare the renting experience across the UK?

It’s hard to tell from this information and there are many more considerations. For a top-line comparison I awarded points for, paying less rent costs than the median, having a spare room or a garden, plus a few others.

Which came down to this jazzy little table:

Why do renters 1, 7 and 11 have the best deal?

It’s a three way tie!

Renter 1 in Aberdeen is living with their partner. Not only are they paying below the median, they have a driveway, garage, garden and their own set of stairs. Swish.

Renter 7 in Manchester has three (three!) bedrooms to share with their partner as well as a garden and ensuite. The real kicker is that their lease was renewed for a third time at the same price. Please let me be blessed with a similar landlord.

Renter 11 is a solo renter paying £575 in Belfast for a two-bed property with their own entrance. They even noted “I don’t hate anything”, which is quite rare for anyone renting! Brb moving to Belfast.

Why does renter 3 have the worst deal?

On paper Renter 3 had the worst deal but really, this renter is not disappointed.

Renter 3 has a good sized bedroom space, lives with friends and has a fireplace which would have been a factor when deciding to pay slightly over the median monthly rent price.

Has the pandemic impacted renters?


84% of the R29 renters had experienced a change as a result of the COVID-19, whether it was wanting to move during it or having roommates move out. For the most part, people were working from home more.

To sum up

There are three things you should take from this.

  1. The majority of renters have been impacted by COVID-19. This is beyond the R29 renters - renters are the group most likely to be impacted by the pandemic. So if you are a renter needing support or help at this time, don’t feel that you are alone.
  2. Price is a massive factor, but it isn’t everything. Renting is based on a lot of factors, even if you are paying above average it may be that it’s because you value space, location or being with friends.
  3. If you can: find love. Move to Belfast.

Are you a renter who is working from home? You could be claiming cash back on your bills, find out how to do it here.

Jamie Campbell

Jamie Campbell

3 years ago - 3 minute read

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