Demand for rooms for rent is still far outstripping supply in much of London – it is estimated that up to 11 people are searching for every room available.
Availability varies across the capital and East London, for example, has four times more rooms to rent than any other postal district, according to figures released by flat and house share site Spareroom.co.uk
Top of the list is Canary Wharf and the Docklands, E14, with almost 9,000 rooms listed, closely followed by Shoreditch and Whitechapel in E1, with 8,000 rooms on offer.
Top 10 London areas to find a flat share (February 2016)
London’s glossy financial district, Canary Wharf, is popular with buy-to-let investors. The area, in Zone 2, is well-served by the Docklands Light Railway and the Jubilee line and when Crossrail arrives in 2018 it will take just six minutes to get from Canary Wharf to Liverpool Street, 13 minutes to Bond Street and 40 minutes to Heathrow.
Nearby Docklands is being transformed into a residential hub, with thousands of new homes, shops and schools. Room rents across E14 average almost £800 per month, but the sky’s the limit for some of the best penthouses.
Once gritty Shoreditch is now a trendy rental hotspot with arty Londoners and City workers, thanks to its maze of small streets, walls of street art, and galleries, cafés, clubs, boutiques and bars.
It has a large supply of rooms for about £760 a month because those who bought very cheaply, when industrial buildings were first carved up into fashionable loft-style apartments, remain attached to the area and prefer to rent out rather than sell.
Whitechapel offers slightly cheaper rents than neighbouring Shoreditch. It also offers great transport links and the vibrancy that comes from being an area on the cusp of change, thanks to forthcoming Crossrail and two large developments of new homes – Goodman’s Fields and Aldgate Place.
“East London has undergone major regeneration in recent years, both in terms of housing and much improved transport links. As a result, some of the historically cheap areas of the city are now becoming the most desirable,” says director of SpareRoom.co.uk, Matt Hutchinson. “Plus, in parts of the capital, where planning regulations have allowed developers to build upwards, higher-rise housing means greater density.”
Angel, N1, and Camden, NW1, also make the top 10 list, as does Maida Vale, W9, and Fulham, SW6.
“One of the advantages of flatsharing is that you get to live in areas you’d never be able to buy in,” says Hutchinson.
However, the City of London has the least supply. Only eight rooms are listed in St Paul’s, where commercial premises dominate because prices per square foot are so expensive.
Towards the suburbs, supply is also low, with less than 50 rooms available in family areas such as Winchmore Hill, N14, and Mortlake, SW14, where monthly rents are about £200 cheaper than in central London.
Across London, rental price hikes are slowing, rising about 3.5 per cent over the past year compared to 9.5 per cent the year before,meaning Londoners need to budget for about an extra £25 a month for rent.
“If you’re looking to rent in an area of high supply, you’ll typically have more bargaining power – plus rents tend to remain more steady,” says Hutchinson.