The average rental property is now listed for £1,078 per month, according to the latest data from Zoopla.
This represents a massive and really quite scary rise of £117 year-on-year. It also equates to a hefty 35% of a typical single person's monthly salary, which is the highest level in more than a decade. On average, rents have increased this year at double the rate of salaries: 12% as opposed to 6%.
Rents have continued to rise throughout the year – back in May, the average rental property was listed for £995 per month – and reflect the total chaos of the current private rental market.
Talking about her incredibly stressful flat hunt in north London earlier this year, a Refinery29 staff member said: "There were literally around 60 other people viewing the property. By the time I'd talked to my boyfriend about it because he couldn’t make the viewing, it had gone to someone else. The agents were also asking people to put sealed bids in on their way out."
According to Zoopla, rents have risen most sharply in five of the UK's largest cities, led by London where they're up 17% year-on-year. It's no wonder that London's Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has asked the government to grant him the authority to impose a rent freeze.
In Scotland, emergency legislation designed to freeze most rents until March 2023 was passed in October as the cost-of-living crisis intensified.
The situation is nearly as abysmal in Manchester, where rents are up 15.6% year-on-year, in Birmingham (up 12.3%), Glasgow (14.1%), Bristol (12.9%) and Sheffield (12.4%).
According to Zoopla's Richard O'Donnell, "a chronic lack of supply is behind the rapid growth in rents which are increasingly unaffordable for the nation's renters, especially single-person households and those on low incomes". Essentially, we're all paying the price for a lack of "new investment in private rented housing over the last six years".
"Renters are having to adopt a range of strategies to deal with rising rents," O'Donnell added. "We have seen a rapid increase in demand for 1 and 2-bed flats while some renters are now considering sharing a property to cover the cost of rent. Others may now need to stay at home with parents or relatives for longer until they can afford to rent privately."
The only very slight silver lining? Because rents have become so ridiculously unaffordable – especially for many young people – they're not expected to rise quite so sharply next year.
"Only a big increase in investment in the sector will ease the pressure on affordability and boost consumer choice," O'Donnell warned. "In the short term, we expect the growing unaffordability of renting to reduce rental increases in 2023 to 5%."