House and flat shares are getting larger, as tenants search out cheaper rooms in Houses in Multiple Occupation.
According to website SpareRoom, house shares with six or more bedrooms are the fastest growing property type on the site, both in terms of supply and demand.
Over the past year, SpareRoom has seen a 59% surge in rooms available in bigger house shares with six or more bedrooms, a 51% increase in rooms in five-bed house shares and a 43% rise in rooms in four-bed house shares.
In London, SpareRoom’s figures show a massive 79% hike in rooms in properties with six or more bedrooms and a 74% increase for rooms in five-bed properties.
Larger flat shares are becoming more prolific in the current financial climate as people look to reduce rental and living costs.
In the UK as a whole, room rents for two and three-bed flat and house shares cost an average £426 per month, while rooms in four to six-plus bed house shares cost an average £397 per month, according to rental figures from SpareRoom. That’s a saving of £348 per year on rent.
In London, the average monthly rent for a room in a two-bed flat share is £809, but in a house share with six bedrooms or more, tenants will pay just £710, a saving of £1,188 per year.
SpareRoom director Matt Hutchinson said: “Faced with stubbornly high living costs, jobs uncertainty and, in many cases, reduced incomes, renters are increasingly looking to make savings wherever they can, and sharing a larger property with more people is a simple way to do that. Not only is the rent cheaper, but monthly bills are lower when divided amongst a bigger group, too.
“Landlords can reap higher yields from larger properties and tend to rent by the room in bigger house shares, as it can be difficult to find a big enough group of sharers that will move in altogether, unless their property is located in a university town or city and they are targeting the student market.”
* Landlords of larger properties are reminded that they should check if they require an HMO licence.
There is useful information about HMOs on direct.gov.uk but it is even more important to check out local requirements, which vary from council to council. A number have introduced their own licensing schemes over and above mandatory requirements and some have also introduced planning permission requirements.