South West London is worst hit by rising rental costs, ONS data shows

South West London is bearing the brunt of rising rental costs in the city, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics.

Kensington & Chelsea, Hammersmith & Fulham, Wandsworth, Lambeth, Richmond upon Thames and Merton were in the top 12 areas of London with the highest rental price growth in 2023.

According to data published on April 25, 30.5% of households in Kensington & Chelsea and 27.9% in Wandsworth will see their private rent rise in 2023, putting them among the areas with the highest increases in London.

Richmond Council’s lead member for housing, Councilor Jim Millard, said: “The ONS findings are unfortunately not surprising and are further evidence of how broken the UK housing system has become.

“While this and other councils are doing all we can to alleviate the current cost of living crisis, only the government can tackle the deep-seated structural problems that the ONS findings highlight.”

Kensington & Chelsea, Wandsworth and Hammersmith & Fulham were identified as among the top five London areas with the highest average monthly private rent increases, with monthly payments rising by £273, £210 and £200 respectively among households affected in 2023. .

Millard said: “Successive governments have failed for generations to build enough homes to keep up with demographic change.

“The current government’s economic mismanagement has seen mortgage and rent costs rise amid skyrocketing inflation, while they deal with margins by increasing housing benefit rates for the current year after freezing them for many years, only to freeze them again for 2025/26.”

The average house price in Kensington and Chelsea rose five times more than the average house price in England and Wales to £1,400,000 compared to £282,500. Average monthly mortgage payments in the area saw a significant increase from £1,596 before 2023 to £1,954 in 2023. In contrast, Croydon maintained some of the lowest average house prices in London at £430,000.

A Kingston Council spokesperson said: “The council is committed to providing and supporting the development of high quality and affordable housing for our residents. We are currently undertaking major regeneration in the borough to deliver 2,170 new homes, with 871 new council homes on the Cambridge Road Estate.”

The CEO of south-west London homelessness charity SPEAR, Tim Fallon, highlighted the link between high rent and mortgage payments and rising homelessness, saying the link was “well established”.

Fallon added: “In March 2023, more than half of people sleeping rough in the boroughs of Richmond, Kingston, Wandsworth, Merton and Sutton were doing so for the first time.

“SPEAR works with people experiencing or at risk of homelessness to find a place to call home and offers a range of services, but to end homelessness for good we need more truly affordable homes.”

According to campaign group Generation Rent, more households became homeless than were able to buy their first home in England between September 2022 and September 2023.

London’s Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) reported that more than 10,000 people were sleeping rough in London between April 2022 and March 2023, marking an increase of around 20% on the previous year. According to new data published by CHAIN ​​in April 2024, this figure has increased to approximately 15,800 in 2023/2024.

The CEO of south-west London housing charity Evolve, Carmen White, echoed the sentiment that the government needs to do more to tackle the rent crisis.

White said: “It is crucial for local authorities, policy makers and community stakeholders to take a multi-faceted approach to tackling these challenges. This includes increasing the supply of affordable housing, implementing fair rental regulations and ensuring adequate support services and early preventive measures.”

Featured image credit: Jpmaytum via Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY-SA-4.0)

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