Warehouse living is increasingly popular in London, as people seek to reduce the cost of their rents. But after analysing rental data from Spareroom.co.uk, we found that shacking up with countless others may not be the most prudent option when it comes to saving the pennies.
Looking at the data, we discovered some surprising inconsistencies in rental prices around the capital.
Contrary to what might seem to be a safe assumption, there's no inverse relationships between the more people you live with and rent costs. It actually makes very little difference whether you're sharing a place with three others or six others — average room rates remain broadly the same.
However, if you live in west London, on average it's a whopping £71 more expensive a month to live with six other people than to live with two. So you’re actually paying more for the pleasure of having even more dirty dishes to clear up and a longer queue at the bathroom door.
Here's another tip for finding a cheaper spot: across London — with a couple of exceptions — it’s cheaper to live somewhere with a garden than without. Great news if you're green-fingered.
Delving further into the data, we found a seven-bedroom property in Marylebone with no living room or garden costing £1,075 per room per month; way above the average asking price for a two-bed in the same neighbourhood. By contrast, one of the cheapest spots we found was a seven-bed house in Brixton at just £476 per room, with a living room and garden.
Spareroom.co.uk commercial director Matt Hutchinson said: "With rents so high across London it can be almost impossible to get a sense of whether you're getting a good deal or not. There are a couple of things you can do, though. Your first port of call should be to check whether the rent looks reasonable for similar properties in your area. You can do that on SpareRoom.
"You should also check what's included with the rent. Most flatshares include some bills, but what that means can vary. Ask exactly what’s included and see if there's any wiggle room. It's much easier to ask at the start of a tenancy than after you've moved in. Sharing with more people might not necessarily reduce your rent, but it can make a big difference to bills if they're split between more of you."
Helena Trippe, CEO of RentSquare, which uses open data to make renting more affordable by connecting landlords and tenants around a 'rent price sweet spot', shared some of her insights with us: "We’ve found that these inconsistencies are hyper-local, so on a street-by-street level rather than by whole area.
"Larger properties may have higher costs for the landlord, which is why shared houses with more people may not be the cheaper option. But you have to consider that not all landlords are doing this professionally, so they may be benchmarking their costs against speculative prices, rather than real prices paid in rents.
"You may also want to consider the time of year you look to rent. For example, prices go up when students are looking to move into shared housing around the capital."
This article is reliant on data shared with us by Spareroom.co.uk, and is accurate to the best of our knowledge. Thanks to Jamie Fawcett at the Open Data Institute for helping us to analyse the data.