New figures show the cost of running a home in the UK is now almost half of all household income

Woah!

The real cost of running the average-sized UK home has been revealed today by leading home insurers MORE TH>N which for the second year has published its Cost of Running a Home (CORAH) report.

  • The average home (three bedroom) costs homeowners £18,197 a year to run, versus £17,657 for renters
  • Study reveals that almost half of monthly income for families with two people earning national average wage is being spent on house running costs (42 per cent for homeowners and 40 per cent for those who rent)
  • The report also shows that for 71 per cent of people in the UK it’s cheaper to run a home if you own the property, rather than rent.
  • Insurance a smart buy as homeowners and renters have little flex for unexpected expenses

The study found that owning a three-bedroom home in the UK comes with average annual running costs of £18,197 (£1,516 per month), with rented three bedroom homes slightly less expensive at £17,657 per year (£1,471 per month).

For a household with two working adults each earning the average UK annual salary, this means that between 40 per cent (rented) and 42 per cent (owned) of post-tax earnings are being spent purely on household bills and the rent or mortgage.

Overall, the figures work to reveal that families today either need the head of the household to be earning significantly more than the average UK salary, or for both parents to be working, just to make ends meet. This is evidenced in the below table which demonstrates how much leftover income families might have for a range of different wage-brackets if they were running the average UK three-bed property.

Rented (average UK running cost - £17,657)

Annual SalaryNet monthly take-home per centge spent on house running costsLeftover monthly income
£27,271 (national average)£1,818.781 per cent£346
£40,000£2,531 58 per cent£1,060
54,542 (2 x national average)£3637.440 per cent£2,166
£70,000£4,03236 per cent£2561

Owned (average UK running cost - £18,197)

Annual SalaryNet monthly take-home per centge spent on house running costsLeftover monthly income
£27,271 (national average)£1,818.783 per cent£302
£40,000£2,531 60 per cent£1,015
54,542 (2 x national average)£3637.442 per cent£2,121
£70,000£4,03238 per cent£2516

MORE TH>N’s Cost of Running a Home research also found significant variations in the costs of running the same-sized homes in 72 towns across the UK. Most stretched are households in the highest region of Greater London, where 70 per cent of properties cost more than £1,818.7 per month to run – the average UK net take-home after tax.

Removing expensive central London out of the data, the report also reveals the stark contrast in the monthly costs to live in a three-bedroom home in different parts of the country of the 72 towns and cities that were surveyed:

Monthly CostsFirstSecondThird
Cheapest - home owners£813.51 – Neath Port Talbot£856.27 Antrim, NI£861.48 Derry/Londonderry
Most expensive – home owners£2236.18 Cambridge£2082.68 Stratford-Upon-Avon£2059.99 Worthing
Cheapest – renters£841.18 Omagh, NI£880.36 Derry/Londonderry£890.10 Antrim, NI
Most expensive – renters£2157.93 Oxford,  £2141.20 Croydon£1924.82 Cambridge

So whilst a family with two people earning the national average salary in Omagh, Northern Ireland would be left with £2,796 disposable income each month, this figure contrasts sharply with a family trying to run the same size home but in Oxford (£1,480), Croydon (£1,496) and Cambridge (£1,712.58) respectively, illustrating the gulf in house running costs that spans the UK.

Graham Nicholls, head of home insurance at MORE TH>N, said: “The report looks at average homes and average costs.  Just as last year, it’s clear that most people are financially stretched putting a roof over their heads and paying their bills – spending most of their income before buying other regular necessities such as food, commuting, petrol or insurance.

“With so little slack in the budget, it’s easy to imagine how one unplanned expense could prove to be unaffordable and we would encourage homeowners and renters to protect their home and possessions to guard against unexpected bills.  Having the right insurance in place, as well as keeping up with the wear and tear on your home, offer peace of mind and prevent bigger bills down the road.”

The Association of British Insurers reports that one third of UK households do not have buildings insurance and one quarter do not have contents insurance – putting millions of households at risk for a large unexpected bill.

Nicholls: “The insurance industry pays out over £8m a day for household claims but the cost of protection in terms of buildings and contents insurance is affordable – we offer a combined five-star product from an annual cost of £83

The MORE TH>N Cost of Running a Home Report was compiled independently and the results show significant variations in the costs of running the same sized homes in 72 towns across the UK, contrasting the cost of average household bills plus payments for rent or a mortgage.

The report reveals an average fall in costs of seven per cent for those who own and 6 per cent for those who rent when contrasted with 2016, but this statistical average masks strong regional differences. Greater London, the South East and most of the South West and Scotland all cost above a solitary national average wage income to run a three-bedroom home:  

Examples of monthly costs above national average: 

Greater London - Croydon: £1,855.36 (own); Croydon £2,141.20 (rent)

South East – Eastbourne £1,836.13 (own); Basingstoke £1,714.32 (rent)

South West – Bristol £1,604.50 (own); Exeter £1,764.24 (rent)

Scotland – Aberdeen £1,744.25 (own);  Edinburgh £2,507.37 (rent)

Nearly always cheaper for homeowners

The 2017 report shows for 71 per cent of people in the UK it’s cheaper to run a home if you own the property, rather than rent. The East Midlands is the only region in the UK where it is always cheaper to own than to rent any sized property, whereas in Greater London it’s only cheaper to own for 23 per cent of homeowners. 

There are 29 towns across the UK where, irrespective of property size, owners spend less on their total bills than renters: Aberdeen, Antrim, Belfast, Birmingham, Boston, Bradford, Burnley, Carlisle, Exeter, Glasgow, Glossop, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Neath Port Talbot, Newcastle, Northampton, Nottingham, Paisley, Perth, Peterborough, Plymouth, Richmond, Scarborough, Sheffield, Stoke-on-Trent, Taunton and Welton.

Overall 89 per cent of all homes, regardless of size, generate bills that are in excess of half of the mortgage or rent payment.

Extremes at either end of property market

The cheapest monthly running costs for a one-bedroom flat are £330.61 (owned) in Northern Ireland’s Omagh.  This contrasts sharply with £4,299.50 for a one bedroom owned flat in London’s Westminster. Conversely the running costs for a four-bedroom detached house across the UK varies from £968.53 (rented) in Northern Ireland’s Omagh, £1,517.39 (rented) for Inverness, Scotland; £1,325.83 (rented) for Swansea in Wales and £1,940.15 (rented) for Leeds, West Yorkshire.

Living for under £650 per month

In 2017, there are just two towns where you can rent and live for under £650 a month – a one bedroom flat and monthly bills in Omagh, Northern Ireland costs £592.04, and in Antrim £625.45.

For those with mortgages there were 15 towns where monthly outgoings were under £650 which has now fallen to 15: Aberdeen, Antrim, Barrow-in-Furness, Belfast, Bradford, Derry, Lisburn, Lowestoft, Neath Port Talbot, Omagh, Paisley, Scarborough, Stoke on Trent, Sunderland, Telford. This is down from 17 in 2016.

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