Jonathan Moore, director of Easyroommate.co.uk, comments:
“The rent is far higher for British flatsharers than it is for their European counterparts. The strength of the pound against the Euro plays a part – but that’s not the whole story. Brits are paying more for their accommodation because frustrated first-time buyers are pushing up demand for rental properties.”
Banks and building societies have been more willing to lend on the continent. The latest European Mortgage Federation report shows that gross residential mortgage lending in France increased 29.2% in the last year (ending in Q4 2009), 6.2% in Spain, and 2.6% in Italy. In contrast, the same report shows UK lending down 21.4% in the same period.[i]
Jonathan Moore said, “In the UK, it’s practically impossible to get a mortgage if you’re a first time buyer because the UK banks refuse to lend any money while they rebuild their balance sheets. The picture is very different in Spain. The Spanish banking system rode the ongoing worldwide liquidity crisis, thanks to its conservative culture. Over the last ten years, Spanish banks have had to have high capital provisions and have demanded various guarantees and securities from intending borrowers. As a result, there isn’t a glut of first time buyers over there. Spanish flatmates are getting a far deal without that extra demand driving up rent. An oversupply of properties – both to buy and to rent – combined with better access to mortgage finance and deteriorating real estate price is keeping rents down.”
In a survey of the biggest five cities in each of these countries, Milan is the single most expensive city, with average monthly rents of £621 per month. London is second in the table (£551 pcm), £110 higher than Rome, the third most expensive (£441 pcm).
Spanish cities are amongst the least expensive, with Valencia, Seville and Zaragoza featuring in the cheapest five. Valencia is the cheapest city, with monthly rents averaging just £207 per month. Four English cities feature in the 10 most expensive, alongside three French and three Italian cities.
Italians take by far the most amount of time to find a home, spending over 34 days looking for a flat. Spaniards and the British take 22 days to find accommodation on average, but French flatmates are the quickest and find a place to stay within 20 days on average.
Jonathan Moore continues: “Italians take as much time to choose their flats as they take choosing what to wear! In Italy, it takes nearly two weeks longer to find a flat than the rest of Europe. But then Rome wasn’t built in a day. If you’re going there, don’t expect to find somewhere to stay anytime soon – well, when in Rome, do as the Romans.”
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