These Are The Cheapest Places To Rent If You're Single

Published: 19/08/2019

If you’re single and at a stage in your life where sharehouses simply don’t cut it anymore, the property market can be a frustrating one.

Solo renting is expensive whichever way you look at it and then, of course, there is the prospect of paying off a mortgage and saving for a deposit on a single-salary. The horror! Of course, renting, buying and even becoming a landlord are all doable for a single person. You just need to be extra smart about price and location…

Recent research by has revealed the cheapest place to rent in the UK if you’re a single person. And the winner is…


To maintain good living standards, it is said that your rent shouldn’t exceed more than 30% of your monthly income. Derby is one of two cities in the UK that lives up to this statement. 

Single renters in Derby can expect to spend just 23% of their take-home salary on a one-bed flat.

So, for those of us not so knowledgeable about UK geography, where exactly is Derby?

Located on the banks of the River Derwent in the East Midlands not too far from Nottingham (20-odd minutes via train), Derby city homes around 12,500 people. The city is divided into three distinct areas: the Cathedral Quarter, St Peter's Quarter and the Intu Derby shopping area. The cosy city boasts lots of green space including Markeaton Park, Allestree Park and Alvaston Park. Meanwhile, the stunning Peak District National Park is just a 40-minute drive away.

According to Zoopla, Derby has a number of positive features which could entice individuals of all ages, but especially young families, to move there. Some of these include:

  • It’s well connected. London St Pancras can be reached in just 90 minutes by train whereas Nottingham, Leicester and Birmingham are all just 30 minutes away using one of the regular rail services. For those who prefer to drive, the M1 passes to the east of the city, allowing easy travel to London, Sheffield and Leeds. Likewise, the East Midlands Airport is just 30 minutes away by car.
  • It’s surrounded by countryside. Making it great for families or those who enjoy outdoor activities such as walking, hiking, cycling, fishing, horse riding or bird-watching. 
  • There are excellent schools there. Many of which have excellent Ofsted ratings. 
  • Shops and entertainment are never sparse. Derby has a theatre, live music venues, modern shopping and quirky boutiques, great food and drink places, and more. 
  • There is a big choice of housing. From inner-city modern apartments to period housing with big gardens, there is an option for everybody in Derby. If you do wish to purchase a property, pricing is generally affordable.

The only other city in the country scraping into the affordable 30% criteria is Aberdeen in Scotland, with an average of 28% of a single income being spent on rent in this Northern city. 

The research does also mention Coventry, Plymouth and Bradford however, which are all stated as being affordable locations for single renters to settle down.

But what about London?

Bad news if you’re single and have your heart set on the capital. For the average person, renting in London could set you back as much as 85% of your monthly take-home salary. Unless you’re on the big bucks, a share house could be your best bet! 

Should I buy a house instead of renting?

There are pros and cons to both purchasing property and renting it. It very much depends on your own individual circumstances and financial situation. Before locking anything in, it’s important to carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages. This will involve doing your own independent research and maybe even enlisting the advice of professionals such as a financial advisor. 

The pros of buying property vs renting 

  • Stability - You never know when your rental situation could change, quite possibly for the worse. Perhaps your landlord will decide to sell the flat you and your partner so dearly love. Maybe you’ll fall pregnant and need a bigger place, but struggle to find something appropriate in today’s increasingly competitive rental market. In fact, one of the main reasons individuals in the UK become homeless is due to being evicted from a rental property. Owning a property (given you’re in a position to comfortably repay the mortgage and so forth) can be a massive weight off the shoulders.
  • Predictability - Your costs are predictable and more stable than renting because they’re ideally based on a fixed-rate mortgage.
  • Investment prospects - Property remains one of the most reliable investments you can make. Generally, the value of property rises, so chances are you’ll make money on your purchase in the long-run. Investing in property as a landlord is now also possible for younger (and even first-time) buyers, due to new mortgages available for FTBs wanting to enter the buy-to-let market (previously such a product did not exist). Being a landlord can fund lifestyle aspirations (such as travel, starting a family) or help you save towards buying your own dream home, which may be in a more desirable location, larger, etc than your rental property.
  • Privacy - No more annoying visits from landlords or dodgy landlord-appointed “handymen” who are in fact the property owners’ brother-in-law staging as a plumber or painter!
  • Independence - Start painting like crazy, as you’ll now be able to decorate and renovate your home however you want without having to worry about losing your rental deposit.
  • Community - People who own their own homes usually feel more settled and ‘at home’ in their community. You’ll feel more pride in yourself and the area in which you live and feel more motivated to get involved with whatever’s going on locally.

The disadvantages of purchasing your own home

  • The commitment - Obviously, homeownership is a long-term financial commitment that you’ll need to be prepared for. It’s also a lifestyle commitment in that you’ll be more rooted to wherever you decide to buy your property, as opposed to somebody who rents.
  • Responsibility - In addition to the financial responsibility, owning your own home means you’ll need to maintain it too. Fixing a broken toilet or replacing a furnance can be costly and time-consuming ventures. That’s not to mention the grass that needs mowing or the hallway that needs repainting!
  • A less flexible lifestyle - When you factor in the money you spend on your house deposit, the conveyancing process and all those moving in costs, fancy dinners out, exotic holidays and designer clothing might be out of the question for some time, so you’ll need to get used to a more frugal way of living at least for a while. It’s possible also that the value of your property won’t increase for several years, so it may be in your best interest not to sell-up in the foreseeable future, which could be an issue if you don’t end up liking your new area.

Advice for FTBs

Buying A Home: House Viewing Tips
Top Tips For First-Time Landlords 
Where Is The Most Affordable Place To Buy A House In The UK?
The First Time Buyer's Guide To IKEA

Who are GWlegal?

GWlegal are a property solicitors based in Liverpool, specialising in buying or selling, remortgage, declaration of trust, bridging and buy-to-let landlords.

If you have a legal matter you wish to discuss don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can call us on 0345 373 3737 email us with your question.

Who are GWlegal? We’re a national firm with local values.

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Content correct at time of publication.

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