Top 50 places to rent or buy, according to

Average renter pays 10.5% more than an owner with a mortgage at 5% p.a

While lenders maintain their vice-like grip on the mortgage market, more and more would-be buyers are forced into property to rent instead of trying to get onto the housing ladder. Consequently, rents will likely rise further as a result and renters will continue to pay a significant premium for being stuck in the sector.

Our latest research shows, that buying a property wins out over renting today, however the impact of a possible rise in interest rates cannot be ignored. If interest rates were to increase by 1% and rents were to remain the same, renting would become more cost-effective in 78% of the locations studied.

Key findings:

  • Average renter pays 10.5% more than an owner with a mortgage at 5% p.a.
  • More cost-effective to own as opposed to rent in 8 of every 10 British towns/cities
  • Milton Keynes better to buy not rent, but Plymouth better to rent rather than own
  • Cost difference has been rising steadily since the middle of last year, when renting was 8.7% more expensive.

In some locations, the higher cost of renting is staggering. In Milton Keynes rents exceed average mortgage servicing costs by 42% – with average monthly rents at £785 Milton Keynes renters are left £2,772 a year worse off compared to owners. Completing the top 3 places where buying is far more cost-effective than renting are Walsall and Birmingham which each have a 38% and 35% rental premium respectively. A further nine of the largest 50 towns and cities have average rents that exceed mortgage payments by over 20%.

Several factors are behind the increased cost of renting. The severe shortage of mortgages has kept many potential first-time buyers in the rental market resulting in high tenant demand, while the combination of stagnant house prices and low-interest rates has reduced the monthly cost of home ownership.

Even in London, which has the highest asking prices in the country, buying is still the more cost-effective option. With an average rent of £2,252 per month in the capital, buyers stand to save £4,656 annually compared to renters.

However, there are still some locations where renting is more cost-effective than owning. In Plymouth, the average two-bed flat costs £581 per month to rent versus £156,435 to buy, leaving renting £71 a month cheaper than the average mortgage servicing cost. Following the buy-to-let boom with investors buying properties to rent out to the large student and military population, the extensive supply of rental property has put downward pressure on rents.

Please note: the research looks at the asking prices of two-bedroom flats currently for sale and to rent in the 50 largest cities and towns around the country and mortgage payments are calculated assuming an interest-only mortgage at 5% p.a. to provide an effective comparison to renting.

Full list of the top 50 places to rent or buy

Top 10 locations where renting beats buying

Rank Location Avg. Asking Price Avg. Monthly Rent Rent vs Buy*
1 Plymouth £156,435 £652 -10.9%
2 Huddersfield £130,109 £542 -10.7%
3 Swansea £178,455 £744 -10.2%
4 Aberdeen £215,234 £897 -7.4%
5 Oldham £135,445 £564 -5.9%
6 Edinburgh £175,540 £731 -5.1%
7 Bournemouth £184,773 £770 -4.7%
8 Bristol £182,968 £762 -4.2
9 Lincoln £134,601 £561 -0.1
10 Stockport £140,777 £587 -0.1

Source: (Feb, 2011)
* % variance between average monthly rent and average monthly cost of 5% p.a. interest-only mortgage

Top 10 locations where buying beats renting

Rank Location Avg. Asking Price Avg. Monthly Rent* Rent vs Buy*
1 Milton Keynes £132,919 £785 42%
2 Walsall £89,683 £514 38%
3 Birmingham £129,350 £725 35%
4 Reading £184,592 £1,030 34%
5 Derby £105,537 £557 27%
6 Northampton £107,809 £568 26%
7 York £172,807 £901 25%
8 Coventry £106,680 £553 24%
9 Preston £107,128 £547 23%
10 Peterborough £112,600 £567 21%

Source: (Feb, 2011)
* % variance between average monthly rent and average monthly cost of 5% p.a. interest-only mortgage

As always, please feel free to share and use this information, all we ask is that you credit the source as and link to either or Thank you.

March 8, 2011 at 2:17 PM Leave a comment

Sell or not? No, not your home – the nation’s assets!

This is a legacy post from the blog which is now maintained as an archive within the Zoopla blog. Links have been preserved.

We live in a world of astounding numbers. The total value of homes for sale on is some £185 billion, the national debt is running at over a trillion (or 1,000 billion) and last year the UK ran up a bank overdraft of a further £163 billion. Therefore, most people would say, we’ve got plenty of potential assets but the economy is running pretty much broke.

Sell ot Not Sell

But the one figure no one knows is how much Britain’s public assets are worth, probably because no one’s ever had the cheek or need to tot them up. Until now, that is. Last week Channel 4′s Dispatches programme asked FindaProperty to help it value some of these ‘secret’ but sometimes controversial assets and we’ve been hard at work helping them.

Properties we were asked to find values for ranged from the very controversial (Gibraltar, Buckingham Palace, the government’s grace and favour apartments, Stonehenge and Middlesborough FC’s new stadium) to the striking sensible (Carlton Gardens, Chevening House and the dozen or so judge’s residences to be found across the UK).

The programme, which includes a live studio discussion that FindaProperty’s analyst Nigel Lewis will be in the line up for, is going to be a rare mix of the serious debate and a bit of light hearted valuation – for example could you really get nearly a billion for Buckingham Palace? FindaProperty looks forward to seeing at close hand how presenters Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Faisal Islam handle the debate. For question for debate is, how much of an appetite is there among the UK public for selling off Britain‘s assets?

Tune in to Channel 4′s Dispatches at 8pm tonight to find out.

March 7, 2011 at 6:09 PM 4 comments

Robbie Williams’ £7.5m mansion still on the market

Cheeky chappy Robbie Williams’  “exceptional country house” is still on the market with a price tag of £7.5m. The stunning mansion is “situated to the edge of the charming hamlet of Compton Bassett. The village lies between Calne and Marlborough, in rolling Wiltshire countryside.”

Property features include:

  • 7 bedrooms
  • Indoor pool/leisure complex
  • Tennis Court
  • Paddocks
  • Hangar
  • Two staff flats and a detached cottage
  • Formal gardens and approximately 71 acres

Here are more details of Robbie Williams house in Compton Bassett listed for sale on

What does Zoopla tell us about the property and area?

Well, we know from reports that Robbie paid £8.5m for it in 2009 and has listed it at £7.5m.  Zoopla also tells us that it has been on the market since July last year, thanks to our listing history information box.

Looking at our sold prices section, we can see that the owners that Robbie probably bought from paid £2,000,000 for Compton Bassett House on 15th Dec in 1997.

In terms of the surrounding area, average property values in Compton Bassett are £351,247 and that in the last year property values in Compton Bassett have declined by 8.02% or £16,261.

Take a snoop around Compton Bassett House which, according to Savills –  the agent selling the property… “has been extensively renovated with fantastic attention to detail. The award winning architect responsible for the renovation was Michael Philips of Hotel du Vin acclaim.”

Living Room


Swimming Pool

Tennis Courts

March 4, 2011 at 10:19 AM Leave a comment

Colin Firth crowned nation’s ideal neighbour, according to


Colin Firth, the nation's ideal celebrity neighbour

Colin Firth, crowned the nation’s ideal neighbour

Very few of us need worry about a celebrity neighbour, but having the right celebrity on your street can benefit a neighbourhood and have a positive impact on home values, but the wrong celebrity can have the opposite effect. An unpopular celebrity can not only make a street less appealing, but potentially damage house prices.

Our recent Celebrity Neighbour Survey for 2011 clearly shows who you (over 4000 of you) believe would benefit and harm your street.

Colin Firth, who lives in Chiswick, West London where properties currently cost £647,988 on average according to us, confirmed his status as the man of the moment garnering more than 15% of the vote for most desirable celebrity neighbour. The ‘nation’s sweetheart’ Cheryl Cole was Firth’s nearest rival with nearly one in ten votes (9%), closely followed by Ant & Dec (also Chiswick residents) with 8.7%. Rounding off the top five most desirable neighbours were Jeremy Clarkson (8.1%) and Michael McIntrye (7.5%). And giving Cheryl Cole one more thing to tease her mentor over, Simon Cowell finds himself on the wrong list, coming in 10th place on Britain’s least desirable neighbour rankings with 2.7% of the vote.

In the stakes for least desirable celebrity neighbour Katie Price, (whose property is for sale on leaves all others in her dust with almost one in three respondents (29.1%) voting her the neighbour from hell. Her closest rivals for the top spot were Irish pop duo Jedward (12.6%), jungle hypochondriac Gillian McKeith (7.8%) and Dancing on Ice evictee Kerry Katona (7.6%) – see her property for sale on Alex Reid also made the top 10 least desirable list with 4.3% of the vote. And proving that he is trouncing his former wife for the public’s affections, Peter Andre just missed out on a spot in the top 10 most desirable celebrity neighbours, securing 13th place with 3% of the vote.

The former Cheshire home of Kerry Katona
on the market for £1.1m

Katie Price’s Surrey mansion
for sale at £2.95m

On the fence…

Proving that politics and popularity go hand in hand, David Cameron is one of only two names to appear on both the most and least desirable neighbours lists, gaining an almost equal share of the vote in both cases. The other name to appear on both lists, long known as a love him or hate him type and the ultimate marmite-celebrity, is Jeremy Clarkson although he did secure a notably higher share of the most desirable vote than least desirable.

The 10 most desirable celebrity neighbours

Rank Name % of votes
1 Colin Firth 15.1
2 Cheryl Cole 9
3 Ant & Dec 8.7
4 Jeremy Clarkson 8.1
5 Michael McIntyre 7.5
6 Wills & Kate 6
7 Heston Blumenthal 5.9
8 Richard Hammond 5.1
9 David Cameron 5
10 Stacey Solomon 4.5

Source:, Feb 2011

The 10 least desirable celebrity neighbours

Rank Name % of votes
1 Katie Price (Jordan) 29.1
2 Jedward 12.6
3 Gillian McKeith 7.8
4 Kerry Katona 7.6
5 David Cameron 5.2
6 Jeremy Clarkson 4.8
7 The Beckhams 4.5
8 Alex Reid 4.3
9 Andy Gray 3.1
10 Simon Cowell 2.7

Source:, Feb 2011

As always, please feel free to share and use this information, all we ask is that you credit the source as and link to either or Thank you.

Here’s the Celebrity Neighbour Survey for 2010

February 25, 2011 at 9:49 AM 1 comment

Is ID fraud another reason to hate your flatmates?

This is a legacy post from the blog which is now maintained as an archive within the Zoopla blog. Links have been preserved.

They steal your milk, eat your chocolate stash and leave their stuff all over the living room floor. Now, it turns out, your flatmate might be doing more damage than you thought.

Young people, particularly those in shared rented homes, are more than twice as likely as the rest of us to fall victim to identity fraud, according to some disturbing research that crossed FindaProperty’s desk recently.

And a quarter of identity fraud victims suspect it’s their flatmates or lodgers who are responsible for stealing their personal details.

The survey of more than 5,000 victims of identity fraud was conducted by Experian’s ProtectMyID, which offers insurance and support against ID fraud.

“Flat sharing and rental is fast becoming the best option for millions of Brits unable to provide the necessary deposits to make their first step up the property ladder,” says ProtectMyID’s Peter Turner. “In the majority of cases this is a great option to meet new people and experience living away from home for the first time.”

But as one of the fastest growing groups targeted by both professional and amateur fraudsters, flat sharers who live in rented accommodation need to be more vigilant to the dangers and effects of ID theft.

“By sharing your home, flatmate fraudsters have all the access they need to a vast amounts of your personal information in the way of post, personal documents and photos,” Turner warns.

He says there are a number of simple ways flatmates can rent a room without opening themselves up to ID fraud.

  1. Don’t publicise where your personal banking statements are kept in your room
  2. Make sure unused credit cards and cheque books are well hidden or locked away
  3. Keep PINS and passwords private – memorise security information rather than writing it down
  4. Don’t leave unopened mail lying around the house
  5. Delete your cookies and history when using a communal or personal computer

February 22, 2011 at 6:04 PM 3 comments

Older Posts Newer Posts

Zoopla Mobile & Tablet Apps

Grab the App

Search over 1 million properties for sale or to rent on our site from more than 18,000 agents and developers, including all of the UK's leading names.

Posts delivered hot and fresh to your inbox. Signup for free to subscribe, (No spam... ever) and join over 16,000 others.

Enter your email address below:

Recent Posts

Follow Zoopla


About the Zoopla blog

The Zoopla property blog is maintained and edited by the Web Content Editor @ Zoopla Property Group Ltd Myra Butterworth.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 507 other followers

%d bloggers like this: