Flats more expensive to rent in Manchester than Madrid. UK rents are highest in Western Europe

29th April 2013

The average cost of sharing a flat in the UK is £390 a month, the highest in Western Europe with London by far and away the most expensive city.

A study of over 35,000 UK, French, Italian and Spanish rental properties by flatshare website Easyroommate.co.uk reveals that a UK tenant pays at least £50 more per month than their European counterparts.

The average rent in the UK is 73% higher than the average for Spain, a difference of £165. With average rents of £340, France is the second most expensive country for renters, followed by Italy at £297 per calendar month.

Jonathan Moore, director of Easyroommate.co.uk, says: “As potential first time buyers continue to struggle to get on the property ladder, their demand for an alternative form of accommodation will continue to push up rental prices.”

In a survey of the biggest five cities in each of these countries, London is the single most expensive city, with average monthly rents of £575 per month.  Paris is second in the table at £426 per calendar month. This is £42 higher than Rome the third most expensive at £348 per calendar month.

The website has compiled this list of the most expensive cities for renting in Western Europe

City Monthly Rent (£) City Monthly Rent (£)
1 London £575 11 Leeds £325
2 Paris £426 12 Toulouse £298
3 Milan £384 13 Madrid £285
4 Nice £384 14 Barcelona £275
5 Rome £384 15 Turin £273
6 Birmingham £347 16 Naples £256
7 Manchester £347 17 Seville £213
8 Marseille £341 18 Zaragoza £201
9 Glasgow £338 19 Valencia £188
10 Lyon £332 20 Palermo £162

Spanish cities, in the midst of a crippling downturn with very high unemployment are amongst the least expensive, with Valencia, Seville and Zaragoza featuring in the cheapest five. Valencia is the cheapest of the Spanish cities, with monthly rents averaging just £188 per month. Of the most expensive European cities to live in, four English and four French cities feature in the top 10, alongside two Italian cities.

Italy showed one of the largest gaps in rents across western Europe, with a clear divide between the North and South. Milan and Rome are both in the top five most expensive cities, but Palermo features much further down the list. For the average renter, it costs just £162 per month to live in Palermo, just under half the cost of renting in Milan. A North South divide was also evident in the UK, with renting in London proving to be £237 per month more costly than in Glasgow and £250 more than Leeds.

Moore adds: “The real surprise is how Birmingham and Manchester fared, rents in these area’s have soared beyond those paid in cities like Madrid and Barcelona. However whilst Milan may well be considered one of the most fashionable cities in Europe meaning that flatmates are paying a premium to live there, London rents are not much cheaper.”



21 thoughts on “Flats more expensive to rent in Manchester than Madrid. UK rents are highest in Western Europe”

  1. Jimbob says:

    Hi Shaun
    I was reading a blog recently regarding house prices in the USA, which indicated that house prices for the 1% were increasing massively, whilst house prices for the 99% were static or falling (http://www.testosteronepit.com/home/2014/5/28/housing-bubble-2-already-collapsing-for-the-99.html). I cannot comment on the veracity of the article, but on the face of it the same seems true in the UK; high end properties are increasing massively in price, whilst the normal properties are creeping up in value.
    Is this the final resting place for the money created by QE, as the elite turn their electronic money into bricks and mortar.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Hi Jimbob

      That is interesting point which as you say does at least have some veracity to it. Unfortunately the link does not work for the US statistics.As for the UK we have very few price falls now (I think according to the Nationwide the North east had one last month) so it would be the gap in house price rises that was relevant and of course the price of the property in the first place needs to go into the mix.

  2. anteos says:

    great article Shaun.

    A recovery based on HPi and increasing debt. What could possibly go wrong……

    can the tories keep the plates spinning until the next election?

    1. Anonymous says:

      Hi Anteos

      I think that the coalition government will do the best it can and there are now only 11 months to go so they have a decent chance. They must be dreading any type of so-called Black Swan event!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Our income from investments abroad has declined relative to what overseas investors get from the UK

    Any ideas what’s driving this Shaun? Strengthening GBP?

    1. Anonymous says:

      Hi Progrock

      That is an interesting point and one missed by the ONS explanation but yes it will have had an influence. They think this.

      “The recent fall in the UK’s income balance is explored in more detail in Figure 4. It divides the income balance (UK earnings on overseas assets less overseas earnings on UK assets) into
      the balances on several types of assets: direct investment, equity, debt securities and other. It suggests that the recent fall in the income balance has arisen as a result of lower balances on direct
      investment and debt securities. Earnings from direct investment fell from an average surplus of 2.6% of nominal GDP per quarter between 1997 and 2007 to just 0.8% in Q4 2013 – the lowest value since the early 1990s. Net earnings from debt securities have grown increasingly negative in recent quarters – falling from an average surplus of 0.2% of nominal GDP between 1997 and 2007, to a deficit of 0.2% between 2008 and 2011, and to a deficit of 1.4% in Q4 2013. Both balances have contributed to a sharp fall in the UK’s income balance.”

      Why might this be?

      It’s explanation now gets a bit circular as it argues overseas agents are now getting a higher rate of return…

      I will be watching the numbers to see if this pattern repeats.

      1. Anonymous says:

        I see, thanks for replying. I’d imagine that over the medium term as the UK declines we are selling off overseas assets (just as we are selling off domestic assets to overseas investors) which must see the return decline.

        Now onto your next article!

  4. Jim M. says:

    hi Shaun,

    I would only note that the Bob Seger song you quote goes on to add…
    “Turning on the charm long enough to get you by…”

    A sentiment for all politicians to admire, no?

    And it comes to you how it all slips away
    Youth and beauty are gone one day
    No matter what you dream or feel or say
    It ends in dust and disarray

    Like wind on the plains, sand through the glass
    Waves rolling in with the tide
    Dreams die hard and we watch them erode
    But we cannot be denied

    The Fire Inside. Bob Seger

    1. Anonymous says:

      Hi Jim M

      Thanks for the lyrics. Quoting from a song on here often reminds me of other songs from that particular artist too.

  5. Forbin says:

    Hello Shaun,

    echos of the last Romans in Britain seem to apply

    anyway who said we’re having a recovery ? GDP fantasy football style ?

    What is the recovery based on ? Russians buying into the London housing market?

    Now they want more sanctions on Russia? force more here or break the boom ?

    oh deary me !


    1. Anonymous says:

      Hi Forbin

      There were some numbers on this front published earlier by Knight Frank as shown below.


      It is interesting to see who is buying what and where. I note that UK buyers are appearing in places, I guess the higher pound £ has influenced that.

      As to corn futures they have dipped below US $4.50 now.

  6. therrawbuzzin says:

    It all goes mammaries skywards if Scotland votes for Independence.
    Balance of payments goes into warp drive, GDP takes a kick in the gonads, and there is no longer $1trn in oil reserves to back the debt.
    Why does no-one do “The economics of rUK after a YES vote in Scotland?”
    Any chance Shaun?
    I’m virtually certain that would show why such lying, chicanery, and black propaganda.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Hi therrawbuzzin

      A good point,maybe it is because the vote is out of rUK’s hands as they do not get to vote on the issue. Ironically the major two issues I discussed the other day apply here too, how will the oil and gas be split and the same for the national debt.

      I guess rUK would have to start opening up its coal mines again!

  7. Noo 2 Economics says:

    Is foreign income measured following conversion into GBP? Is UK income sent abroad measured following it’s conversion from GBP to the relevant foreign currency?

    1. Anonymous says:

      Hi Noo2

      In the UK accounts the measurement is in pounds £. So the UK income from abroad needs to be converted into £ and the rise in the pound will have reduced it ceteris paribus. The money from the UK will already be in pounds, although foreign investors are of course likely to convert it into their currency, that is not counted.

  8. ian says:

    As the central banks are desperate to drive spending & investment they are simply driving up asset prices as the risk/reward is greater there. They’ve lost all credibility on asset inflation as its clear that the Central banks will always bail out investors thus making it a safe bet. The bubble will continue to be driven but will need more and more QE or such wheezes to keep it going thus in the end real inflation will break out.

    Its the 1970’s but on steroids.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think posters are crying wolf. They are correct to state that we are well through the looking glass. The only mistake some have made is the depths our masters will sink to. We cannot enter the mindset of these filthy nihilists.

  10. Anonymous says:

    The upsurge in new cars is cyclical, in 2008 they dropped heavily. Hence there is a relative shortage of modern second hand cars.

    Some of the car lease/buyback deals are dubious. After 3 years there is a fixed contractual amount you owe, but the car repurchase/trade in price is dependent on “market value”.

    In 2008, someone was touting a 3.2 petrol VW Toureg – £12,000 off list price, you drive it for 3 years and resell it at the same price ???? They pushed 3 years driving for nothing. I kept my old, paid off car. In hindsight, I would have been £10,000 down in 2011.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Hi Shrimpers

    If Wikipaedia is any guide then he seems to pop up from time to time. He has not yet featured on the BBC 4 friday night documentaries but James Taylor and Carole King were featured last week so perhaps he will soon.

  12. Jim M. says:

    It’s not that I can’t enter their mindset so much as I really don’t want to emulate the selfish bastards!

    “When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law.” – Bastiat

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