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Exodus from the heart of Britain’s biggest cities – new rental hot spots identified

Soaring rents are forcing an exodus from the heart of Britain’s major cities, according to new research.

Evidence suggests many people have been priced out of living in central London, Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds.

As a result new rental hot spots are being created in suburbs and towns within easy commuting distance of the bright lights.

New data from flatshare experts SpareRoom found that the London locations that have increased most significantly in popularity since 2022 are Abbey Wood, in South East London, Forest Gate and Crystal Palace.

At the same time the opening of the Elizabeth line which runs west to east across the capital means places much further out are becoming more sought after. For example, flatshare searches in Southall are up 210 percent in the past two years. There has been an 87 percent rise in Slough and 77 percent in Romford.

The average monthly room rent, including bills, is some £1,178 in Islington and £1,121 in Greenwich and £1,072 in Clapham.

By contrast, Abbey Wood (SE2) is a more affordable £796 with Forest Gate (E7) at an average of £827 and Crystal Palace (SE19) on £833.

The pull of Manchester has seen an 88 percent rise in searches in Stockport with Warrington up 62 percent and Bolton up 56 percent.

Searches in Wolverhampton, which is within easy commute of Birmingham, are up 63 percent, while the figure for Bradford, which is becoming increasingly popular for workers in Leeds, is also up 63 percent.

Matt Hutchinson, Director at SpareRoom said “Our search data has highlighted changing priorities for both London and UK-wide renters, with proximity to major city centres becoming a less significant factor in the search for a room.

“Renters are increasingly looking at locations further out to set up home, and within London, the likes of Abbey Wood and Crystal Palace are real hotspots at the minute, with an abundance of green space and easy access to the city.”


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