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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Greg Pitcher

Revealed: the explosion of the £1,000 room as swathes of London become unaffordable to renters

It now costs £1,000 or more to rent a room in an average houseshare in almost a third of London postcodes, according to new figures released today.

The number of £1,000-plus postcodes has more than quadrupled in the last year, flatshare portal Spareroom found. There were 33 postcode districts in the capital where housing costs exceeded this level during the first quarter of this year.

As recently as early 2022, room rents in just seven postcodes averaged four figures – all of them in west London.

Now house-sharers can now expect to shell out at least £1,000 per month, from N7 in Holloway to Kennington in SE11. Rent at this level eats up more than half of take-home pay for someone earning £30,000 per year, and requires a salary of around that mark to meet many agents’ affordability criteria.

In Chelsea’s SW3 postcode, securing a room in a shared house set tenants back an average of £1,510 per month, or more than £18,000 per year, in the first quarter of this year.

Neighbouring SW7 (South Kensington) is just behind at £1,449. All figures include utility bills. Five other districts in the west and central London were also among the 10 most expensive areas of the capital. These included W1 (Mayfair) and W2 (Bayswater) as well as SW1 (Belgravia), SW5 (Earl’s Court) and SW10 – also made the top 10 most expensive areas of the capital.

But they have now been joined by 26 new postcodes in charging four-figure monthly rents.

Rents up by a third

Stratford’s E20 prefix was the highest climber with typical room costs up an astonishing 34 per cent in the last year to £1,252. NW5 in Kentish Town saw a 31 per cent hike to £1,028.

James Sunny, branch manager at estate agents JBrown, said a number of residential properties on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park had been bought by overseas investors who were looking to let them out to tenants attracted by the area’s transport links and amenities. Meanwhile universities such as Loughborough and UCL have opened campuses on the park, as have corporate giants such as BT Sport.

“People have become more aware of Stratford,” said Sunny. “Three years ago when you suggested it as a location, many people said absolutely no, but now it has similar desirability to Canary Wharf and othe places in Zone 2. I see rents continuing to rise.”

Seven districts south of the river joined the £1,000 club for average rent at the start of 2023, including Balham in SW12 and Greenwich’s SE10.

A further 18 postcodes – so a total of 51 – had typical tenant costs of £900-plus in the first quarter of this year, according to SpareRoom.

For the first time there were no areas in the capital offering average rent below £700 per month, with N9 (Edmonton) most affordable at £706.

This is a seismic change for budget-conscious house-hunters, who had 36 sub-£700 districts to choose from a year earlier.

The Elizabeth Line effect

Nowhere better illustrates the shifting picture for tenants than SE2, where typical monthly room cost soared from £567 to £751 in a year that included the first Elizabeth Line trains gliding into Abbey Wood station.

Helen Easlea, branch manager at Hunters Estate and Lettings Agency, said there had been a general uptick in interest in rented property in the area since Crossrail moved from construction to operation.

“Every single house is getting a huge amunt of interest from potential tenants at the moment,” she said. “A lot of people see the Elizabeth Line as a massive benefit - even if they are not using it for work, they know it is there when they need it.”

‘Simply off-limits’

Dan Wilson Craw, acting director at campaign body Generation Rent, said the figures showed the lasting impact of Covid19.

“The pandemic is still making life a misery for renters,” he said. “The race for space led to wealthier households occupying larger homes with space to work in, which means there’s less space available for people on lower incomes.

“That means more people need to share with others, pushing up rents on individual rooms. London is as popular a city to live in as ever, but that means we need to build enough homes for people who want to live here.”

The spread of the £1,000 room was pushing many tenants out of swathes of the capital, Wilson Craw added.

“Letting agents will generally not rent to you if your salary doesn’t cover 2.5 times the asking rent,” he said. “Even more parts of London are simply off-limits to anyone who is earning less than £30,000 per year.”

Fastest rising: the 10 postcodes were rents have increased most in the last year


Average monthly room rent in Q1 2023

Change since Q1 2022

E20 (Stratford)



SE2 (Abbey Wood)



SW8 (Nine Elms)



W7 (Hanwell)



NW5 (Kentish Town)



NW11 (Hampstead)



SE17 (Walworth)



NW6 (Kilburn)



NW1 (Camden)



N7 (Holloway)



Source: SpareRoom

Liam Miller, spokesperson for the London Renters Union, added: “A single bedroom in a shared house should not cost £1,000 a month.

“While landlords see their wealth grow, millions trapped in the private rental sector are at breaking point. For moderate-income renters, the basics have become luxuries, while at the acute end of the sector, evictions are on the rise.”

Across London as a whole, average room cost rose by a fifth to £952.

SpareRoom director Matt Hutchinson said demand for rooms, combined with high interest rates and inflation, was driving up living costs.

“Average rents rose by 10 per cent or more in every London region and across the majority of London postcodes, compared to the start of 2022,” he said.

Hutchinson addedd: “Demand is likely to fall a little over the course of the year but unless something is done to stop the continuing decline in rental supply, things aren’t likely to improve much for renters.

“The government has to do much, much more to help, or the housing crisis will become a housing disaster.” 

The 33 boroughs where average room rent is £1,000-plus

According to latest SpareRoom data

W1, W2, W6, W9, W10, W11, W14

SW1, SW3, SW4, SW5, SW6, SW7, SW8, SW10, SW11, SW12

NW1, NW3, NW5, NW6, NW8

N1, N5, N7

E1, E20, E14

SE1, SE10, SE11

WC1, EC1

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