Bank Rate unchanged: what does it mean for mortgage rates?

The Bank of England has kept its base rate at 5.25%, despite a surprise drop in inflation. This is the highest level in 15 years, but borrowers can expect to see mortgage rates fall further in the coming weeks.

Why has the Bank of England kept the Bank Rate the same?

The Bank had been increasing the Bank Rate to get inflation under control but the latest figures showed that inflation had fallen unexpectedly.

Previous rate increases have begun to hurt the economy, with economic growth weaker than expected and unemployment rising. The Monetary Policy Committee, which decides the Bank Rate, voted by a majority of 5 to 4 to keep the Bank Rate at 5.25% today.

“Better than expected inflation figures have put an end to successive Bank Rate increases,” comments Richard Donnell, Executive Director of Research at Zoopla.

“This will be welcome news to homebuyers who have already felt the impact of mortgage rates rising higher over the summer and remaining well over 5%. This has led to demand for homes falling by 25% since the spring as buyers wait to see whether mortgage rates start to fall.”

How does the Bank Rate decision impact the housing market?

“There has been some softening in mortgage rates but as long as rates stay over 5% then house prices will continue to fall,” Richard continues.

“The concern is that money markets expect the Bank Rate to stay higher for longer in the face of higher inflation, which will keep two- and five-year fixed mortgage rates higher as well.”

“As we saw this spring, mortgage rates in the low 4% range would bring buyers back into the market. This would require money markets to expect cuts to the Bank Rate, rather than just an end to the increases.”

Housing demand and sale numbers depend on how far mortgage rates fall and the expectations of home buyers about what rate will get them back into the market. The trajectory of mortgage rates is largely down to the view of financial markets on how stubborn inflation is and how the Bank Rate is set in the future.

What will happen to mortgage rates?

The chart below compares the mortgage rate for new five-year 75% loan-to-value mortgages against the five-year swap rate – the cost of five-year fixed-rate finance to banks – and the average mortgage rate for all 9.5m outstanding mortgages.

The swap rate has fallen back below 5% so rates for new mortgages are expected to follow.

A line graph comparing mortgage rate for new 5-year 75% loan-to-value mortgages against the 5-year swap rate and the average mortgage rate for all 9.5m UK mortgages. The swap rate has fallen below 5% so rates for new mortgages are expected to follow.


The vast majority (82%) of outstanding mortgages are fixed-rate deals according to industry body UK Finance, so most borrowers haven’t been affected by the recent rate rises.

However, 800,000 homeowners are on fixed rates that are due to end in the second half of 2023, so they are likely to face a jump in their mortgage costs at this point.

More households fixing for five years in recent times means the average mortgage rate for all outstanding loans is now 3.0%, up from its low of 2.1% at the end of 2021.

But as households remortgage onto higher rates, this average will continue to increase, putting more pressure on the household finances of existing borrowers.

“Today’s homebuyers and remortgagers are taking what they will hope is short-term pain to get a better, lower rate in two years' time - 40% of new mortgages are being taken at the higher 2-year fixed rate,” says Richard.

“The chart also raises some questions over the margin on new mortgage business for banks. They don't fund solely from the money markets - they also use money from savings, current accounts and other sources to get a blended cost of funds.

“Margins looked much better for banks pre-2021 and this will be supporting their profits. Banks are fully capitalised and ready and willing to lend but they can only price against the underlying cost of finance.”

When will mortgage rates fall below 5%?

“Our view is that we will get to sub-5% rates in the second half of 2023," Richard adds.

“Demand for homes is lower since rates started to rise in June but we are still seeing new sales being agreed. It shows there are committed buyers in the market, who are benefiting from many more homes for sale than we have seen in recent years.”

Key takeaways

  • The Bank of England has today kept the Bank Rate at 5.25% after it was previously expected to increase it to 5.5%
  • It’s thought that the Bank Rate may have peaked but is likely to remain high in an attempt to bring inflation closer to the target of 2%
  • Experts were split as to whether the Bank would increase the rate as previously anticipated following a surprise drop in inflation from 6.8% in July to 6.7% in August
  • Swap rates – the cost to banks of fixed-rate borrowing – have already fallen so fixed-rate mortgage rates are expected to follow


The highest yielding areas for buy-to-let property in the UK

Thinking of buying a rental property? One strategy for investment is to focus on higher yielding markets. Here are the top investor hotspots in the UK.

Ready to become a landlord and want the biggest return on your investment?

It’s worth getting to grips with rental yield if you’re purchasing a buy-to-let property.

Gross rental yield is the amount of money you make from a rental property each year, after you take away the cost of buying it. Net rental yield also factors in the cost of maintaining the rental property.

Both are usually expressed as a percentage and can help you decide if a property is a good investment.

But it’s not just yield that you need to think about with a buy-to-let property. A high-yielding market might not deliver much house price growth or tenant demand, which can be a key consideration as to whether you’ll get a return down the line.

The highest-yielding rental regions in the UK

The average rental yield in the UK is currently 5.03%, as the average buy-to-let property costs £263,000 and the average rental rate is £1,163.

Yields are running higher than this time last year, when the average gross yield was 4.8%. The average investment property cost the same but average rents were lower at £1,053.

The region with the highest rental yields is currently the North East, where the average gross yield is 7.2%.

Locations with cheaper house prices tend to offer the greatest yields, even though rent is also usually cheaper.

The average buy-to-let property costs only £109,000 in the North East, so an average rent of £649 offers a greater return in comparison to the cost of the property.

The North East’s yield appeal is largely thanks to the investment triangle of Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Hartlepool, where gross yields sit between 8.01% and 8.39%.

On the other hand, London has the lowest gross yield in the UK as it’s so expensive to buy a rental property there - despite average rents reaching £2,053 this month. However, this is higher than the average gross yield in London this time last year of 4.16%.

Region Average gross yield Average monthly rent Average price of a buy-to-let property
North East 7.2% £649 £109,000
Scotland 7.1% £748 £127,000
North West 6.3% £795 £151,000
Northern Ireland 6.2% £744 £143,500
Yorkshire and the Humber 6.1% £758 £150,000
Wales 6.0% £814 £163,500
West Midlands 5.6% £852 £182,500
East Midlands 5.5% £816 £178,000
South West 5.0% £1,016 £242,500
East of England 5.0% £1,111 £266,500
South East 5.0% £1,254 £301,000
London 4.7% £2,053 £522,000

Rental Market Report for September 2023 (data to July 2023)

The 10 highest yielding rental cities in the UK

When it comes to cities, you’re generally better off focusing your search in the North of England if you’re after a high yield.

In Sunderland, the average rental property costs a little over £80,000, meaning a high 8.39% gross yield with a £582 rental rate.

Burnley, Liverpool and Blackburn are top investor cities in the North East while Dundee and Glasgow are buy-to-let hotspots in Scotland.

City Average gross yield yield Average monthly rent Average price of a buy-to-let property
Sunderland 8.39% £582 £83,000
Dundee 7.85% £768 £117,500
Burnley 7.73% £530 £82,000
Glasgow 7.73% £898 £139,500
Middlesbrough 7.53% £578 £92,000
Liverpool 7.21% £764 £127,000
Blackburn 7.12% £622 £105,000
Hull 7.03% £578 £98,500
Grimsby 6.92% £579 £100,500
Newcastle 6.89% £763 £133,000

Rental Market Report, September 2023 (data to July 2023)

The highest yielding areas in each region of the UK

Looking for a buy-to-let property near where you live? It can be useful as you know the local area and can work closely with a local letting agent.

So you might want to consider which parts of your region offer the greatest rental yield. Here are the top 3 local authorities for yields in each UK region.

East Midlands

  • Nottingham - 6.8% gross rental yield

  • Boston - 6.34% gross rental yield

  • Mansfield - 6.36% gross rental yield

East of England

  • Great Yarmouth - 5.93% gross rental yield

  • Peterborough - 5.93% gross rental yield

  • Fenland - 5.92% gross rental yield


  • Barking and Dagenham - 5.81% gross rental yield

  • Newham - 5.56% gross rental yield

  • Bexley - 5.38% gross rental yield

North East

  • Sunderland - 8.39% gross rental yield

  • Middlesbrough - 8.16% gross rental yield

  • Hartlepool - 8.01% gross rental yield

North West

  • Burnley - 8.11% gross rental yield

  • Barrow-in-Furness - 7.43% gross rental yield

  • Liverpool - 7.32% gross rental yield


  • West Dunbartonshire - 9.05% gross rental yield

  • Renfrewshire - 8.96% gross rental yield

  • East Ayrshire - 8.58% gross rental yield

South East

  • Southampton - 6.16% gross rental yield

  • Portsmouth - 6.05% gross rental yield

  • Gosport - 5.93% gross rental yield

South West

  • Gloucester - 6.01% gross rental yield

  • Plymouth - 5.98% gross rental yield

  • Swindon - 5.80% gross rental yield


  • Blaenau Gwent - 7.25% gross rental yield

  • Merthyr Tydfil - 6.94% gross rental yield

  • Neath Port Talbot - 6.89% gross rental yield

West Midlands

  • Stoke-on-Trent - 6.90% gross rental yield

  • Coventry - 6.28% gross rental yield

  • Newcastle-under-Lyme - 6.22% gross rental yield

Yorkshire and the Humber

  • Hull - 7.03% gross rental yield

  • North East Lincolnshire - 6.92% gross rental yield

  • Bradford - 6.86% gross rental yield

What is rental yield?

Rental yield is the amount of money you make from a rental property each year against the cost of purchasing and running it. It’s always expressed as a percentage.

The gross yield only takes the cost of the property and the rental income into account.

The net rental yield, on the other hand, considers the extra costs of running the property, like maintenance and property management.

To figure out the best investment property for you, it’s worth looking at both of these yields as well as other factors.

Why is rental yield important?

Before you jump into buying a property to rent out, you've got to figure out if it’s a worthwhile venture.

If your rental income doesn't cover your costs, or you're just breaking even, unexpected expenses like fixing a broken boiler or a leaky roof can impact your finances.

So looking at the potential rental yield will help you do the maths and make sure it’s a good investment.

What else to think about with a buy-to-let property

There’s more to choosing a good buy-to-let property than just the rental yield.

You could buy a property with a strong yield, but if house prices aren’t rising or you can’t find tenants, it might not be the best investment.

Get a feel for house price growth to see if the property is likely to rise in value. Look at historic sale prices for individual properties as well as value increases for the postcode and local area.

The cost of a buy-to-let mortgage

At the same time, you need to think about the costs of taking out a buy-to-let mortgage and all the other associated costs of running a rental property.

Tenant demand

It also helps to understand what tenant demand is like in the area and what sort of properties they’re looking for.

Speak to a letting agent to find out what’s happening in the local rental market. They’ll be able to share what tenants are looking for and which properties could be a strong buy-to-let investment.

How to work out your gross rental yield

Let’s say you want to buy a property worth £200,000. You plan to charge £1,000 per month in rent, which works out to £12,000 per year. Divide 12,000 by 200,000, then multiply by 100. That equals a gross yield of 6%.

(Annual rent / property value) x 100 = gross rental yield

How to work out your net rental yield

To work out your net rental yield, you need to take your extra costs off your annual rental income.

So add up the amount of money you think you’ll spend over the year. This will include paying the mortgage, agency fees, property maintenance, and any costs you might incur to keep up with regulations.

Then deduct these costs from your annual rental income, and do the same sum from there.

[(Annual rent - annual costs) / property value] x 100 = net rental yield

Let’s say you’re buying the same £200,000 property and charging the same £12,000 per year in rent.

But you’re spending £300 on maintenance and agency fees, which comes to £3,600 over the year.

That means your net rental yield for this property is 4.2%.

Key takeaways

  • If you’re looking for a buy-to-let property, rental yield can help you decide if the cost of the property is worth the potential rental income
  • Take other factors into account, like the potential for house price growth and tenant demand in the area
  • The North East is top of the yield charts right now – investors here make an average gross yield of 7.2%
  • The highest yielding cities in the UK are Sunderland, Dundee and Burnley, which offer a gross yield of between 7.7% and 8.4%
  • We reveal the three highest yielding areas in every region of the UK


The cheapest places to rent a home in 2023

Looking for a rental home that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg? Here’s your complete guide to the cheapest places to rent in the UK.

Rents for new lets have risen by an average of £1,320 over the last year. It’s driven by rental demand sitting 51% above the five-year average, while the availability of rental homes is down 30% compared to normal for this time of year.

This supply and demand mismatch has pushed rents 10.5% higher over the last 12 months - although this is a little slower than the 12.1% growth we saw a year ago.

With rents still rising and the cost-of-living squeeze pushing all our purses to the limit, you might be looking for a cheaper home to rent.

The good news is there are some places where it’s much cheaper to rent a home than others.

Let’s take a look at the regions, cities and local areas with the cheapest rents in the UK.

The cheapest places to rent in the UK - regions

For the cheapest rents in the country, set your sights on the North East - tenants spend an average of £649 per month on rent here.

Northern Ireland, Scotland, Yorkshire and the Humber, and the North West all sit at the cheaper end of the scale too, with rents averaging less than £800 per month.

Rents in the South of England are much more expensive than anywhere else in the country.

London is by far the most expensive region to rent in the UK (£2,053 per month), followed by the South East (£1,254), East of England (£1,111) and South West (£1,016).

Region Average rent Annual % change
North East £649 +9.5%
Northern Ireland £744 +4.2%
Scotland £748 +12.7%
Yorkshire and the Humber £758 +8.4%
North West £795 +11.0%
Wales £814 +9.9%
East Midlands £816 +9.5%
West Midlands £852 +10.0%
South West £1,016 +7.8%
East of England £1,111 +9.8%
South East £1,254 +9.5%
London £2,053 +12.4%

Rental Market Report, September 2023 (data to July 2023)

The cheapest UK cities to rent a home in 2023

Just because you want cheaper rent, it doesn’t mean you have to move out to the sticks.

The cost of rent varies a huge amount across UK cities, with Belfast, Liverpool and Sheffield offering the cheapest average rents.

In Belfast, rents are currently averaging £759 per month - plus it has affordable living costs compared to mainland Britain.

Renters in Liverpool are paying £764 per month to live in the UK’s friendliest city, where rents have risen 8.7% in the last year.

The only other major city where rents are below £800 per month is Sheffield, the vibrant Yorkshire city that’s home to a lively student scene.

Cities in the Midlands tend to be fairly cheap to rent, with Birmingham and Nottingham both posting average rents of below £900 per month.

When it comes to Scotland, you’ll find a dynamic city lifestyle and cheap rents in Glasgow, where rents average £898 per month. Edinburgh is much pricier with an average rent of £1,199 per month.

In southern cities, you can expect to pay higher rent than anywhere else in the country. London and Bristol have the highest monthly rents of any UK city, with Southampton also posting an expensive average rate of £1,057.

City Average monthly rent Annual % change
Belfast £759 +4.7%
Liverpool £764 +8.7%
Sheffield £772 +7.9%
Birmingham £880 +10.6%
Nottingham £896 +10.1%
Glasgow £898 +13.7%
Leeds £908 +8.6%
Manchester £994 +13.1%
Cardiff £1,011 +10.7%
Southampton £1,057 +10.6%
Edinburgh £1,199 +15.6%
Bristol £1,315 +9.1%
London £2,053 +12.4%

Rental Market Report, September 2023 (data to July 2023)

The cheapest places to rent in every region

Getting cheaper rent doesn’t mean you have to move to a whole new part of the country, either.

Here’s a breakdown of the cheapest districts to rent in each UK region. It might be that you could get a cheaper rent just by moving a few miles.

Region Cheapest local authority to rent Average monthly rent
East Midlands East Lindsey £626
East of England Waveny £724
London Bexley £1,455
North East Hartlepool £497
North West Burnley £521
Scotland East Ayrshire £502
South East Isle of Wight £862
South West North Devon £753
Wales Powys £594
West Midlands Stoke-on-Trent £632
Yorkshire and the Humber Hull £578

Rental Market Report, September 2023 (data to July 2023)

Key takeaways

  • UK rents have risen by 10.5% in the last year, bringing the average monthly rent to £1,163
  • The North East is the cheapest region to rent a home in the UK with an average rent of £649 per month
  • The cheapest major cities to rent are Belfast, Liverpool, Sheffield and Birmingham, where average rents are below £900 per month
  • London rents have hit £2,053, making it twice as expensive to rent a home in London than in the South West (£1,016)


Why is the cost of renting so expensive right now?

A supply and demand problem in the rental market is pushing rents to sky high levels. When will renting prices come down?

The number of homes currently available for rent is nearly a third below the five year average.

This, coupled with demand for rental properties running at 51% above the five year average, is creating a major housing supply problem for renters - and has been doing so for quite some time.

However, a silver lining is beginning to emerge: demand for new rental properties is starting to come down - and is now 20% lower than this time last year.

Equally, the number of homes now available for rent is 20% higher than this time last year.

When will the cost of renting come down?

The cost of renting has been rising at such a rate that it’s outpaced the rate at which wages are rising for the last 22 months - and rents have now hit their worst affordability level in over a decade.

Rental inflation has been running in double digits for 18 months, meaning the average rent has increased by £110 per month over the last year – an annual increase of £1,320.

Over the last 3 years, rents for new lets are up by an average of £2,772 per year, compounding the cost of living for renters.

However, again, there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon, as rental inflation is now starting to come down.

This time last year, rental inflation was running at just over 12%. Today, it is running at 10% and by the end of the year, we believe it will begin to track at 9%.

In 2024, we expect rental inflation to slow to 5-6%.

What’s happening with rents across the UK?

What’s going on with rents in Scotland?

In Scotland, where a rent cap was introduced to prevent landlords from raising rents by more than 3% for tenants in situ, rents are rising fast.

A system designed to be fairer for tenants is creating issues when the property becomes vacant.

Landlords, unsure of how long a new tenancy might last, are charging the full market price for new lets, meaning rents in Scotland are now rising faster than the rest of the UK.

Our Executive Director - Research, Richard Donnell, says: ‘The introduction of rent controls in September 2022 is a key factor here.

‘Landlords are seeking to maximise the rent for new tenancies to cover increased costs and allow for the fact that future rent increases will be capped over the life of the tenancy.’

This means Scotland has now overtaken London in terms of rental inflation.

In Edinburgh and Dundee, rents are up 15.6%, while in Glasgow they are up 13.7%. In London, rents are up 12.4%.

What’s going on with rents across the UK?

Across the UK as a whole, the rental market is stuck in a state of low supply and high demand.

While growing the supply of rented homes available is a clear solution, higher borrowing costs are causing the number of new investments from landlords to fall - alongside the level of new homes being built.

'New investment from corporate landlords via 'build to rent' is a bright spot, boosting supply in many city centres,' says Donnell.

'However, rental levels set by corporate landlords are above-average and not at a scale to impact the wider market.'

Renters in existing tenancies are also reluctant to move in a rising costs market, meaning fewer rental properties are becoming available.

This has led to the average letting agent now having just 10 rental properties on their books, compared to 16-17 before the pandemic.

Why is rental demand so high right now?

Rental demand is rising for three main reasons:

  • Higher mortgage rates, preventing would-be first-time buyers from entering the housing market

  • The strength of the labour market and job creation

  • Record levels of immigration, particularly apparent a year ago as international borders re-opened with an influx of overseas students returning to study in the UK.

When mortgage rates hit 5.5%, repayments for a first-time buyer become more expensive than rental costs.

Unfortunately, the supply/demand imbalance doesn’t look set to ease in 2024. But the cost of renting cannot keep rising beyond what renters can afford - and it is this that will have the greatest impact on rental costs going forward.

‘Increasingly unaffordable rental costs should temper demand and lead to a reduction in the rate of growth, says Donnell.

‘However, the scale of the mis-match between supply and demand means that rental growth will reduce more slowly than might be expected.

‘If supply remains low then a weaker labour market, lower immigration and falling mortgage rates would all be needed to reduce demand to a level that would reduce rental growth back towards 5% per annum.’

How can I spend less on my rent each month?

To help cope with the increased cost of renting, renters are:

  • Renting smaller properties

  • Sharing homes

  • Moving to more affordable areas

'More renters sharing does reduce the cost per renter, but this comes at the personal expense of less private space,’ says Donnell.

'It also supports headline rental values. Data from the Resolution Foundation found private renters have experienced a 16% reduction in floor space per person over the last 20 years.

'In our view, sharing is supporting high rents in inner London where the reduction in floorspace per renter has been greatest.’

In fact, increased levels of sharing could be a key factor in rents continuing to rise above earnings across regional cities in the next 12-24 months.

Elsewhere, the rates at which rents are rising varies across the UK - and renters are now choosing more affordable areas to live in.

In London particularly, renters are heading to the suburbs to seek better value for money, causing rental prices in inner London to slow.

Will the cost of renting come down in 2024?

Rents for new lettings are expected to keep rising ahead of earnings growth in 2024.

Wages are projected to rise by 3.6% next year, while we expect rents to increase by 5-6%, due to the lack of supply and sustained higher mortgage rates.

Regional cities across the UK are likely to see the highest rental increases, apart from inner London, where affordability constraints are likely to slow rental inflation.

This inner London slowdown is significant, as it will act as a drag on UK rental inflation as a whole and may potentially halve it to more sustainable levels.

Generation Guppie: A growing number of young adults are giving up on owning a home.

42% of adults aged 18-39 who don’t own a home say they’ve given up on the idea of buying one in the next ten years, including 38% of those earning £60,000+.

More than four in ten (42%) British adults under the age of 40 who do not currently own a home are now ‘Guppies’ – young people, many of whom have professional careers and big salaries, who have ‘Given Up on Property’.

The Guppies of today are in stark contrast to the ‘Yuppies’ of the Eighties and Nineties – young urban professionals with a good salary and no issues buying a home.

Our latest survey of 2,000 adults under the age of 40 reveals that even among those earning over £60,000 per year, 38% have given up on affording a home in the next decade.

Overall, just one in five (21%) say that they will ‘definitely’ be able to afford a home in the next decade, while 14% are currently planning to buy one, or are in the process of doing so.

The vast majority of Brits under the age of 40 in the UK do not already own a home – just 22.5% of those aged 25-34 and 1.4% of those aged 24 or under do.

In fact, non-home-owning under 40s in the UK are now more likely to be living with their parents, than be planning to, or be in the process of, buying a home (14.4% vs 14.1%).

Those who have given up on a home in the next decade cite 3 main reasons:

  • the cost of living crisis (64%)

  • increasing house prices (51%)

  • higher mortgage rates (49%)

Of those who are planning to buy, or who are in the process of buying their first home, 85% say they have made financial sacrifices to do so.

Over a third 34% have given up holidays, and 30% have had to give up socialising.

A quarter (25%) have stopped saving for their future and one in ten (10%) have even given up dating or being in a relationship in order to afford a home.

Younger people adjusting expectations to get on the ladder 

Younger people can get on the housing ladder but many need to make compromises in order to do so.

Among those under 40 who are currently planning to buy, or who are in the process of buying their first home, seven in ten (69%) say they made compromises on the property.

Most common were ‘not being able to buy in the area they’d ideally like to (31%), not being able to buy a home in as good condition as I’d like (18%) and being unable to afford any spare rooms’ (17%).

Many also look to alternative locations. Just 33% of all under 40s who don’t currently own a home say they’d be able to afford to buy a property where they currently live - but 23% say they might if they were to move further away.

Location is the key

Among those who say they might be able to afford a home if they moved to a different location, they’d on average have to move around 37 miles. As such, investigating new areas may be the key to homeownership for many.

In adulthood, many move away from where they grew up. But for some, moving back could help.

Overall, 37% say that they’d be able to afford to buy a home in the place where they grew up. However, this rises to nearly half (49%) in Scotland and 45% in Yorkshire and the Humber.

Those in the South of England are less likely to be able to. Just 27% in the South West and 33% in the South East say they could afford a home where they grew up.

The ‘alternative’ ways Brits are considering to get a home

Many young adults today are open to less conventional ways of getting on the ladder.

Nearly a third of under 40s who don’t currently own a home (31%) would be open to a part ownership or help to buy type scheme, and 18% would be open to buying with a friend, colleague or sibling.

Many are also up for getting their hands dirty - a fifth (20%) would be open to buying a near-derelict home and doing it up whilst 19% would even consider building a home themselves.

Seventeen percent say they would be open to moving to a cheaper area and working remotely.

What can I do to get onto the property ladder?

1. Find out what you can afford

Use our mortgage calculator to find out what you could afford based on your income to get a starting point for your search.

2. Be area-agnostic

Most people in the survey say they can’t afford to buy a home where they live or where they grew up, so the reality for many is that they’ll need to look at alternative locations.

3. Look at the help available

There are many schemes out there designed to help people get on the ladder. Shared Ownership schemes (where you own part of the home and pay rent on the rest) can be a great way to get a foot on the ladder.

Meanwhile 95%, mortgages can help make saving the deposit less of a barrier.

4. Don’t go it alone

Buying with a friend or a partner is one way to slash costs significantly and pool your salaries together.

It may feel risky, but it’s actually very straightforward to get a legal document drawn up to enshrine what your share of the property is.

5. Get the right mortgage

Many people will have seen worrying news reports about huge increases in monthly mortgage costs - in fact 18% in the study said they’d be too worried to take out a mortgage.

However, there are a number of options so it’s vital to choose what’s right for you.

For example, a fixed mortgage reassures you of what your monthly mortgage payments will be for a set period.

Free online mortgage brokers such as Mojo can help here, by looking for the best options for you.

Key takeaways

  • The cost of living crisis is now the key barrier to purchasing a property for young people - with higher mortgage rates also having a strong impact
  • Non-home owning under 40s are more likely to be living with their parents, than planning to buy a property
  • But many are looking to ‘alternative’ ways to get on the ladder - from moving away from where they currently live to buying with friends, getting a ‘doer upper’ or even building their own home


Is it cheaper to rent a home in the countryside?

Generally, it is cheaper to rent a home in the countryside than in the city. This is because there is less demand for rental properties in rural areas, which means that landlords can charge lower rents. Additionally, the cost of living in rural areas is also lower, which can further offset the cost of rent.

However, the trend of renting in the countryside has been changing in recent years. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people moved out of cities to the countryside in search of more space and a better quality of life. This increased demand for rental properties in rural areas led to higher rents. However, as the pandemic has subsided, some people have started to move back to the cities. This has led to a decrease in demand for rental properties in rural areas, and rents have started to become more affordable again.

Summer is one of the busiest times of year in the rental market.

And demand for new rentals this year is now even higher than the same time last year.

Meanwhile, the supply of homes to rent is only slightly ahead of last year’s levels.

That means the supply-demand gap for the rental market is continuing to put pressure on rents.

And as demand increases, so do the prices.

Our rental index of new lets shows that the average UK rent increased by 0.9% over June - the highest monthly increase since October 2022.

The average UK rent has now reached £1,163, which is £110 higher than a year ago.

Rents in urban areas rise faster than rural areas

A new trend is emerging in the rental market: rural areas are becoming more affordable than cities when it comes to new lets.

Rural areas are built out of Census output areas defined as those with a population of less than 10,000. They can include isolated dwellings, hamlets, villages and small hub towns.

Urban areas are built out of Census output areas that tend to have a population of 10,000 or more and include cities, towns and suburbs.

In England, the average city rent in major cities reached £1,300 in June, while in the countryside it remained £220 lower at £1,080.

The lettings market in UK cities is prone to seasonal summer spikes in rental inflation as demand from students, graduates and relocating families grows over the summer.

In recent months, some of the largest UK cities have experienced above national average inflation of more than 10%.

However, rural rents are now growing at a slower pace.

Over the last 12 months, rents in the English countryside increased by an average of 6.6% or £67 a year.

This new trend marks a reversal of what happened during the pandemic years of 2020-21, when rural rental properties were in hot demand.

The reopening of cities in 2021 has seen renters returning to urban areas. And by June 2022, their regained popularity led rental inflation in cities to exceed that of their rural counterparts.

Rental affordability in cities has become increasingly challenging.

Conversely, the average proportion of household earnings needed to rent in the countryside has stayed broadly the same over the last 12 months.

Having said that, this won’t be a universal experience of all renters in rural locations.

Some 2 out of 5 rural areas saw rental inflation rise above the national average wage growth (6.9%).

And renters in some rural areas are now having to put a higher proportion of their income towards housing costs.

8 UK cities where rents are rising fastest

City Average rent % increase annual increase pcm
Edinburgh £1,136 14.2% £140
London £2,005 13% £230
Manchester £983 13% £110
Glasgow £871 12.9% £100
Southampton £1,052 10.9% £100
Cardiff £1,031 10.9% £100
Birmingham £865 10.2% £80
Nottingham £899 10.1% £80
 Rental Market Index

In June, we identified 8 major UK cities where the prices of new rents increased by at least 10% in one year.

In Edinburgh, London, Manchester, Glasgow, Southampton and Cardiff, the cost of a new let rose by £80 pcm or more.

Top of the list was Edinburgh, where the average monthly rent for a new let in the city rose by £150 pcm, pushing the average rent close to £1,200 per month.

Manchester and Glasgow were next, with rents increasing by £120 and £100 pcm respectively.

Meanwhile, renters in Liverpool, Sheffield and Belfast saw the lowest rental growth among the largest UK cities.

In these locations, average monthly rents increased by less than £60 in the last year.

Cheaper urban areas to rent

While most renters across the UK saw steep rental increases in the last 12 months, there are a few exceptions.

When considering the UK’s largest urban areas, there are three towns where rental inflation was below 5%.

Annual rental increases in Blackpool were the lowest among all UK cities and large towns, with average rents increasing by £20 on average.

Blackpool is followed by Doncaster and Grimsby, both in Yorkshire and the Humber, where rent increases over the last 12 months were £30 and £20 respectively.

All three areas are among the least expensive large towns to rent in the UK.


Average Rent (PCM)

Annual rental price change (%)

Annual rental price change (£)













Rents rise fastest in London and Scotland 

Scotland and London - the two largest rental markets in the UK - are experiencing the steepest growth.

In Scotland, rents increased by £80 per calendar month (or 13.1%) on average in the last 12 months.

In the Scottish Borders area of Tweeddale, the monthly cost of a new let increased by 17.1% - or £80 pcm.

In London, rents have risen £230 (or 12.7%) in the last year. That’s actually down from an annual rise of £273 (or 17.6%) in the 12 months leading up to June 2022.

The fact that rental inflation is coming down in the capital now suggests affordability is stretched in London, with less headroom for rents to grow further.

In reality, there is a lot of variation in how fast rents are going up in different London boroughs.

For the fifth month in a row, rents in Newham are growing faster than anywhere else in the capital (16.5%), whereas the lowest rental inflation is currently being seen in Kensington and Chelsea (11.0%).

Slower rental growth in Northern Ireland and South West England

Our data shows the lowest rental inflation is happening in Northern Ireland (4.3%) and the South West (7.7%).

Northern Ireland is currently among the regions with the lowest earnings growth in the UK, which limits how much rents can increase.

Meanwhile, demand for rentals in the South West has slowed down from the pandemic peak of 2021 and it has been lagging behind other UK regions since October 2022.

This has eased the pressure on rental inflation in the region, particularly in the more rural areas.

Key takeaways

  • Rents in cities are now rising faster than in rural areas
  • In 8 UK cities, rents have increased by more than 10%. In Edinburgh, rents are up 14%
  • However in rural locations, rents have increased by 6.6% - or £67 on average
  • The average monthly UK rent reached £1,163 in June, which is £110 higher than a year ago, with London and Scotland seeing the greatest increases


What do higher interest rates mean for the housing market?

The UK base rate continues to increase but mortgage rates are close to peaking.

Base rate up 0.25% - fewer increases expected

The Bank of England has raised rates again to 5.25% in an effort to cool inflation. City expectations of how much higher interest rates need to rise have moderated in recent weeks. Most expect only one more increase. This is an improvement on a few weeks ago when market expectations were for base rates to rise above 6%.

Mortgage rates for fixed rate deals are close to peaking

Changing market expectations for base rates has led to a fall in the underlying cost of finance for fixed rate mortgages. Some banks have already started to reduce mortgage rates as a result. These are modest reductions so far, but a sign mortgage rates are peaking.

We expect mortgage rates to fall further in the months ahead but how much depends on the outlook for inflation and what this means for City expectations for base rates. We could well see sub 5% mortgage rates return this autumn.

9 in 10 mortgage holders on fixed rates

The vast majority of people buying homes in recent years have taken mortgages with fixed rates. Almost 9 in 10 outstanding mortgages (87%) are on fixed rates meaning today’s rate rise will not have an impact on their monthly repayments.

However, 15% of mortgage holders will see their fixed deal come to an end in 2023, meaning the need to refinance onto higher rates and pay an extra £200-£250 per month on average.  In some areas with higher property prices this increase will be much greater.

The remaining 13% of mortgagees are on variable rates which means higher mortgage repayments almost straight away. The fact over 1 in 10 loans are on variable rates probably reflects those with smaller loans where changes in rates have a much smaller impact on their monthly repayments.

Jump in borrowers paying down mortgages 

Households with access to savings are paying down mortgage debt at a much faster rate as they look to reduce the impact of higher rates. This trend is being exacerbated by lower savings rates which makes paying down debt more attractive, especially for those who are higher rate taxpayers.

Bank of England data shows households paying off an extra £2.2 billion a month over and above regular debt repayments - this is 66% higher than the 10 year average.

Higher mortgage rates have a variable market impact 

The rise in mortgage rates has hit demand from new buyers by 18% over the last 2 months. Sales have also slowed but Zoopla has not seen a drop in activity as severe as over the period immediately after 2022’s mini budget.

Home buyers are steadily accepting that we are returning to a period of more normal mortgage rates in the 4-5% range rather than the ultra low, sub 2% mortgage rates of recent years.

Map illustrating house price inflation in the UK.  Price falling in the southern England, Northern Ireland and Aberdeenshire, while rest of the country registers growth.
Image: Annual house price inflation in June 2023

Higher mortgage rates hit buyers hardest in higher value housing markets where the size of the mortgage is larger and buyers need a larger income to buy. House Price Index shows prices falling across southern England as the hit to buying power pushes prices lower.

However, in the north of England and Scotland house prices are still rising as the impact of higher mortgage rates is less pronounced. These trends are explained by the income needed to buy and how accessible the market is for first-time buyers.

It’s cheaper to buy than rent at 5.5% mortgage rates across lower value housing markets in the north of England and Scotland. In contrast, in southern England, would-be first-time buyers face much greater challenges which weakens demand and keeps house prices under downward pressure.

UK house prices to fall 5% over 2023

Higher mortgage rates have reduced the buying power of households and this will need to be reflected in house prices which fell at the end of 2022 but started to increase this spring as mortgage rates reduced to 4%.

Now mortgage rates are rising again we expect further modest price falls in the second half of 2023. Overall we expect the average UK house price to fall 5% over 2023 but they will still remain 15% higher than the start of the pandemic.

The longer term outlook depends on the strength of the economy and labour market and how long mortgage rates remain over 5%. We expect house price growth to remain very low over 2024 and into 2025 as the market adjusts to higher borrowing costs.

There is no quick rebound in prospect as mortgage rates start to fall and anyone serious about moving needs to set their price carefully if they want to move home.

Key takeaways

  • The Bank of England base rate has risen but the underlying cost of a fixed rate mortgage has been falling in recent weeks
  • Mortgage rates are close to peaking
  • 15% of households with a mortgage will need to refinance this year
  • The impact of higher mortgage rates on demand and house prices is not uniform across the country


Are You Paying Too Much for Your London Mortgage?

27% of homeowners with a mortgage are on their lender’s standard variable rate. Could you be one of them?

When your mortgage deal period ends, you’ll normally move onto your lender’s standard variable rate.

A standard variable rate (or SVR) is usually a lot higher than your existing rate. Currently the average is around 7.5%, and it can change at any time your lender decides.

Some lenders move you onto a ‘follow on’ rate instead, which can be even higher than their standard variable rate.

According to recent research by mortgage broker Habito, one in 10 mortgagees believe that paying a more expensive rate on their mortgage meant they’d be paying off their mortgage quicker.

It doesn’t. It simply means you’re paying the lender more interest instead.

Your lender will be able to tell you in advance what your monthly payment will be once your current deal ends.

How much more expensive is a lender’s standard variable rate?

An SVR or ‘follow on’ rate can be between 2% and 3% higher than the average five-year or two-year fixed rate mortgage.

And the lender can raise the rate at any time.

When the Bank of England increases the Base Rate (which has currently risen 13 times since December 2021) SVR and tracker rate mortgages may increase too, as they usually follow the Base Rate.

However there are exceptions. And some lenders have opted not to increase the rate on their SVR mortgages when the Base Rate has risen.

Your lender will always let you know what’s happening with your mortgage rate.

Current SVRs and fixed rate deals from major lenders

Let’s take a look at the standard variable rate and fixed rate mortgage deals currently being offered by some of the major lenders.



10-year fixed

5-year fixed

2-year fixed






Halifax / Lloyds




















The Mortgage Works (buy to let)





Virgin Money





Yorkshire BS





If you had a £200,000 mortgage spread over 25 years on a £250,000 property, you could end up paying several hundred of pounds more in interest each month on the lender’s SVR.

To cite Virgin Money’s rates above as an example:

On the standard variable rate of 8.74%, you’d be paying £1,642 a month.

At the two-year fixed rate of 6.13%, you’d be paying £1,304 a month.

With the five-year fixed rate of 5.63%, you’d be paying £1,243 a month.

And with the 10-year fixed rate of 5.18%, you’d be paying £1,190 a month.

That’s a potential difference of £452 a month, or £5,424 a year, between a lender’s standard variable rate mortgage and fixed rate deal.

Use our mortgage calculator to work out what your monthly payments could be.

Why are so many people on standard variable rate mortgages?

Habito’s research suggests many homeowners are slipping onto their lender’s SVR without even realising it or knowing that they have an alternative.

But it’s always worth contacting a broker 3-6 months before your current mortgage deal is due to end.

You can book in a new deal up to six months in advance.

And if a better rate comes up between the time you booked the deal and the time it’s due to begin, you can simply book in that rate instead.

Your mortgage broker will be the best person to advise you on what to do.

Trusted partner is Mojo Mortgages, a free online mortgage broker.

Financial concerns

One in 10 homeowners were frightened of lenders scrutinising their finances, given the current economic climate.

This is where a broker can help. They have an in-depth knowledge of the mortgage market and know the rules that different lenders operate by.

Once your broker has an understanding of your financial circumstances, they’ll know which lenders to approach on your behalf.

Unaware of mortgage alternatives

One in 10 didn’t realise it could be possible to get a cheaper mortgage deal.

A mortgage broker will scour the market for you to find the cheapest mortgage rates available to you.

Too much hassle to switch mortgages

In a recent survey by Which?, 41% of homeowners on an SVR mortgage said they’d be unlikely to switch to a cheaper deal.

They felt it ‘wasn’t worth the hassle’ or they ‘hadn’t really thought about it’.

This in part may be because homeowners with smaller mortgages are less likely to feel the financial hit when moving onto an SVR.

But when the savings can run into hundreds of pounds a month, it’s a call to a broker that’s worth making.

Fears of being in negative equity

Other homeowners were concerned that they might be in negative equity.

Negative equity is when a property you own is worth less than the mortgage you're paying on it.

What is negative equity?

Most lenders won't let people with negative equity switch to a new mortgage deal when their existing one ends. Instead, they'll normally be moved onto their standard variable rate.

You can find out if you’re in negative equity by checking the balance left on your mortgage and inviting estate agents round to value your home.

If you are in negative equity, it could still be worth speaking with a mortgage broker, as they may be able to find a lender that could help.

Mortgage rates are set to come down this autumn

In good news for homeowners and buyers, mortgage rates look set to hit their peak this summer.

Inflation is now on its way down and so are swap rates - the rates the banks pay to borrow money.

Swap rates are based on what the markets think the interest rate will be in the future.

Right now, the average mortgage rate for a 5-year fixed rate at 75% loan to value has reached 5.4%, compared to 4% in the Spring.

The reduction in swap rates will take time to feed through into mortgage rates, but our Executive Director - Research, Richard Donnell, believes they could fall below 5% this autumn.

Whether you need to remortgage now or in six months time, if your current mortgage deal is coming to an end soon, it’s well worth contacting a mortgage broker.

They will be fully up to speed on the latest mortgage market trends and current rates available.

And they are in the best place to advise you on getting the cheapest possible mortgage deal for you.

Which Properties Are Selling Best in London Right Now?

The UK property market is currently in a state of flux, with rising mortgage rates and a cost-of-living crisis putting pressure on buyers. However, there are still some properties that are selling well, especially in London.

Family-sized homes are still in demand, but buyers are looking for bargains.

In the past, 3- and 4-bedroom family homes were the most popular type of property in London. However, rising mortgage rates have made these homes more expensive, and buyers are now looking for good deals.

Flats are also selling well, especially in central London.

Flats are often seen as a more affordable option than houses, and they are also becoming more popular with investors. In central London, flats are selling at a premium, and there is a shortage of supply.

What does this mean for sellers?

If you are selling a family-sized home in London, you may need to be prepared to negotiate on price. However, if you are selling a flat, you may be able to get a good price, especially if it is in a desirable location.

Here are some tips for sellers in London:

  • Get your property valued by a professional.
  • Price your property competitively.
  • Make sure your property is in good condition.
  • Market your property widely.

The London property market is always changing, so it is important to stay up-to-date on the latest trends. If you are thinking of selling your property, it is a good idea to speak to a property expert to get advice on the current market conditions.

Here are some additional details about the UK property market:

  • The average house price in the UK is currently £280,000.
  • The average house price in London is currently £525,000.
  • The number of house sales in the UK fell by 12% in July 2022.
  • The number of house sales in London fell by 10% in July 2022.

Key takeaways

  • Demand falls as higher mortgage rates prompt buyers to reassess what they can afford
  • Family-sized homes are hardest hit as buyers have less money to spend on larger properties
  • Flats make a comeback, gaining popularity as buyers look for more affordable options


Will mortgage rates go down in autumn 2023?

Mortgage rates are expected to peak this summer, as inflation begins to fall and swap rates - the rates banks pay to borrow money - also decline.

The last six weeks have seen mortgage rates rise quickly towards 6%, impacting both buyers and sellers in the housing market. Some buyers, cautious about taking on higher rate mortgages, have stepped back and demand has fallen by 18% in the last two months. This marks a turnaround from the first half of the year, when rates were edging towards 4% and sales increased.

What happens in the housing market for the rest of 2023 all hinges on what happens with mortgage rates. Our Executive Director - Research, Richard Donnell, says: 'Higher mortgage rates have hit home buyer demand, but the impact is not uniform across the country. Southern England is set to experience above average price falls, while some areas may not post any.'

When will mortgage rates go down?

Inflation is now coming down and is currently running at 7.9%, compared with the recent high of 11.1% in October 2022. The Bank of England has stated that it expects it to fall significantly further this year because:

  • Wholesale energy prices have fallen significantly
  • The price of imported goods is falling as production difficulties ease
  • Reduced spending power means less demand for goods and services in the UK

That means it now looks less likely that the Bank of England will need to raise rates as much as financial markets expected just a few weeks ago.

We believe mortgage rates are likely to peak this summer, because swap rates - the rates banks pay to borrow money - have fallen by 0.6% over the last 3 weeks. Swap rates are based on what the markets think the interest rate will be in the future.

Right now, the average mortgage rate for a 5-year fixed rate at 75% loan to value has reached 5.4%, compared to 4% in the Spring. The reduction in swap rates will take time to feed through into mortgage rates, but they could fall below 5% this autumn. That said, there is a risk that mortgage rates may remain higher for longer as the Bank of England works to get inflation back down to 2%.

What does all this mean for house prices?

Higher mortgage rates are having a detrimental effect on house prices, particularly in the south of England where homes are more expensive. However, the decline in buyer demand is not as marked as that seen in the wake of the mini budget. Overall, it's running at 6% below 2019 levels. When looking at the picture year on year, demand is 40% lower than it was this time last year. That said, the number of actual sales being agreed is only 17% lower, as buyers and sellers currently in the market remain committed to moving home.

Southern England, where the average house price is over £300,000, is being hit hardest in terms of prices. House prices here are falling by up to 0.6% year-on-year. However in the Midlands, Northern England, Wales and Scotland, where properties are cheaper, the picture is brighter and homes are registering growth of over 1% year-on-year. In Scotland, homes are up 2%.

On average across the UK, house price inflation is currently running at just 0.6%, whereas this time last year it was running at 9.6%.

First-time buyers are also feeling the strain of higher mortgage rates, weakening demand at the bottom end of the housing ladder.

'Weaker buyer demand will push down prices over H2 2023,' says Donnell. 'We expect modest price falls over the coming months, with UK house prices expected to fall by up to 5% over 2023. This would mean that prices are still 15% higher than at the start of the pandemic. Even if mortgage rates fall back into the 4-5% window later this year and into 2024 H1, we expect house price growth to remain very low for the next 1-2 years.'

Key takeaways

  • Mortgage rates are set to peak this summer and look likely to return to 4-5% this autumn
  • However, there is a risk that rates may stay higher for longer
  • Higher mortgage rates have hit buying power in the south of England hardest