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The number of tenants with a spare room has fallen to the lowest level on record according to recent research. Just one in three new tenants in 2016 rented a home with a spare bedroom, down from one in two in 2010. Across the west midlands just 39% of tenants were able and willing to pay for an extra room, and at an additional £210 a month it’s no wonder tenants are increasingly shying away from paying for a space that don’t essentially need.

Renters in London are the least likely to have a spare bedroom, with the monthly cost of an additional room at a staggering £845, nearly three times the UK average. In cities further north such as Newcastle, Manchester and Liverpool, the cost of an extra bedroom is much lower, with tenants nearly twice as likely to have a spare room and those living in city centre flats a third more likely to have a spare room than their more suburban counterparts.

The cost of a new let rose on average 1.0% across Great Britain in the last year, the slowest October increase since 2010. The midlands however saw rents up by more than 2.0%, with the average monthly rent at £702 for October compared to £685 last year. London and the South East continue to bear the brunt of the slowdown with rents in the capital up just 0.2% over the last 12 months while in the South East they fell 3.0% year-on-year.

Commenting, Johnny Morris, Director of Research at Countrywide said: “As affordability pressures have risen, for many tenants, extra space has become a luxury. Sacrificing extra bedrooms and sharing has helped renters to absorb higher prices. But those living in the South are close to a point where there’s not much more room to squeeze, meaning rental growth is likely to be capped by tenants incomes for some time.

“The second half of 2016 has seen the rental market slowly swing towards the tenant. The pace of rental growth has slowed throughout the year. October was the first time in over two years the cost of renting a home didn’t rise faster than the rate of inflation.”

Table 1 - Tenants with a spare bedroom

Table 2 - Tenants with a spare room and cost of an extra bedroom

 Table 3 - Average monthly cost of a new let

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