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Beat the trends to bag a bargain

In recent years London rents have become insanely high, writes Matt Salusbury. Many workers in London spend over two thirds of their income on rent. Single professionals in the capital no longer aspire to having a place of their own – flatshares among fortysomethings are becoming standard.

According to a recent survey by flatshare website Easyroommate.com, the average rent for a double bedroom (not even a flat) in London is now £692 a month, with a typical student only being able to afford £580 a month at the most. If a student wants to live in a room within walking distance of the London School of Economics, for example, it’s going to cost them on average an eye-watering £800 a month.

The not-particularly-desirable London accommodation that students used to be able to find easily is now being eagerly hunted by younger professionals, who can pay higher rents – a staggering 72 per cent of London renters are now professionals, and ten potential tenants are chasing each available room for rent. (This compares with France and Spain, where students make up around 53 per cent of tenants, and professionals less than 40 per cent.)

As a result, landlords who previously had to rely on students for much of their market are now fussier, and the Easyroommate survey found 30 per cent of landlords ‘wouldn’t want to rent their bedroom out to students’. Reasons cited were difficulty getting money out of students and students not staying over the holidays, with ‘parties’ a less important factor.

Thankfully, rent rises in London seem to be slowing, and first-year international students often get priority when (sometimes) more affordable halls of residence are allocated. Accommodation close to university comes at a premium, but if students are prepared to seek a room to rent a bit further away they can save some money. The survey gives the example of Queen Mary University of London, where accommodation close to the Mile End campus costs on average £100 more a month than it does in Stratford, a five-minute train ride or a short bike ride away. So a move to Stratford and a short commute would save a student £1,200 a year.