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UK renters return to sharing to counter soaring living costs


**This article is based on 2014 data and is no longer up to date**

With average UK rents having risen by 9.5% since 2010, research carried out by reveals that more than half (51%) of our users have returned to flat and house shares after renting alone or with a partner – suggesting that renting solo is no longer an affordable option for many.

While almost a third of SpareRoom users (33%) have always lived in shared flats or houses, 51% said they used to either rent alone or with their partner - another 16% said they had once been homeowners. With the number of new people looking for flatshares up 31% since 2011, this suggest more renters than ever are returning to flatshares to save cash.

The survey of 1,071 UK sharers asked:

‘If you’re sharing (or looking for a flat or house share) have you returned to sharing after renting alone/with your partner?’

  • No, I’ve always shared 33%
  • Yes, I used to rent on my own 24%
  • Yes, I used to rent with a partner only 27%
  • Yes, I owned a property on my own 8%
  • Yes, I owned a property with a partner 8%

Interestingly, over the past five years, the fastest growing age group of flatsharers has been 45-54 year olds, up by 50%. Total flatsharers aged over 35 have increased by 26%.

Huge financial savings can be made by renting a room in shared accommodation, rather than a whole property. Across the UK, the average cost to rent a one bed flat (including bills) is £12,669 per year, while the cost of renting a room with bills included is just £6,079 – a saving of £6,590 per year. In London, the difference in price between renting a one bedroom flat, which costs an average £19,633 per year, including bills, and a room in a flat or house share, at £7,767, also including bills, is a staggering £11,866.