Cambridge rent becomes less affordable every year as costs reach record high

Cambridge rents have reached a record high (stock image)
Cambridge rents have reached a record high (stock image) -Credit:Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

People in Cambridge spend more than six out of every 10 pounds they earn on rent on average, making the city one of the least affordable places to live in the country. It cost £1,634 a month on average to rent a home in Cambridge in the year to March 2024, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.

That’s up by 7.6 per cent compared to the same time last year, and by 36.2 per cent since March 2015, when the average home in the city cost £1,200 a month to rent. Meanwhile, the average full-time employee in Cambridge earned an estimated £31,844 last year after tax and national insurance were deducted.

That’s up by 25.4 per cent from 2014, when the average take-home pay in the city was £25,395 for full-time workers. It means that renting the average Cambridge home now costs 61.6 per cent of the typical take-home pay, up from 56.7per cent back in 2015.

Only 21 other local authorities in England and Wales have average rents that make up a larger percentage of take-home pay. A Cambridge estate agent told CambridgeshireLive in January 2024 that he believes rent prices will continue to rise over the coming years after the price of renting a double room reached a record high of £800 on average.

You can see how rent affordability has changed over time in Cambridgeshire as well as in other parts of the country by using our interactive map:

The figures come from exclusive analysis of official earnings and rent price data by the Reach Data Unit. Take-home pay has been calculated by deducting income tax and national insurance from the median salary in each local authority, for each year from 2014 to 2023.

The situation in Great Britain as a whole is less extreme than in Cambridge. It cost £1,246 a month on average to rent a home in Great Britain in the 12 months to March 2024.

That’s 34.8 per cent higher than in 2015 (£924 a month) . The average full-time take-home pay, meanwhile, has increased by 23.1 per cent to £27,825 a year, meaning the average rent now makes up 53.7 per cent of the average wage, up from 49.1 per cent in 2015.

Dan Wilson Craw, Deputy Chief Executive of Generation Rent, said: “Something has gone very wrong in this country when a home – one of the most basic things we need for a decent life – is becoming more expensive in relation to what we earn. Rent is our biggest cost and if living standards are going to improve it needs to come down. That means building more homes where people want to live, including social housing so that everyone can put a roof over their heads.”

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