Let’s face it – the way things are currently going, the likelihood of owning a house any time before your thirties – or even forties – is shrinking by the day.
Many of us out there are playing the rent game, a never-ending Battle Royale style tournament to find somewhere habitable – before some sneaky lurker at the open viewing throws down a fat deposit whilst you’re still assessing the damp in the bedroom.
With new research predicting that the average London rent is set to reach a whopping £2,000 a month by 2020 and a new BBC drama about the spiralling cost of property in the Capital beginning tonight, we’ve surveyed the UK market using Rightmove to see what you can with just half of that, across 13 British cities.
£1,000 in London would get me:
The property market in the Big Smoke is insane and, as previously mentioned, will only get worse. In the future, you’ll be telling your grandkids about the heady days of 2k15, when you paid just £1,400 for a squat above a warehouse in Hackney, shared with two members of Dirty Pretty Things.
Our quick search found a number of studio and one bedroom flats to rent, which make your student halls look like the Playboy Mansion.
One particular highlight was a ‘maids room’ – a studio apartment near Marble Arch, where you’re free to live out your Downton Abbey fantasies for a nominal fee.
Pros: You’re in the midst of one of the culture capitals of the world.
Cons: You couldn’t even afford the flat from Only Fools & Horses.
£1,000 in Brighton would get me:
The lure of the seaside can be powerful for some and although you may be forking more for your commute to the Capital, at least you can have more than three people stand in your living room at one time.
Renting in Brighton & Hove means you get to live on streets with quaint names like Bear Road and Hollingbury Terrace, which sound like you live adjacent to Mr Benn. You can even (possibly) afford a second bedroom, but furnishings are a rarity and your kitchen will look really sad.
Pros: You can act out scenes from Quadrophenia whenever you feel like it.
Cons: Commuting to work gets real old, real quick.
£1,000 in Bristol would get me:
The cultural epicentre of the West Country is a popular ‘I would definitely live here’ location for many visitors, with its thriving nightlife and stunning architecture.
If you do indeed decide to go West and become an honorary Bristolian with your money, you’re making a choice between a two-bedroomed flat in a converted town-house or a new-build studio apartment which resembles the set of Blake’s 7. You can also rent a flat in ‘Eclipse Tower’, commendable for having the most Bond-villain lair name possible.
Pros: There’s furniture!
Cons: Someone has attempted to fit a modern apartment into a house built for the 1880s.
£1,000 in Portsmouth would get me:
Pompei, you spoil us with your large furnished houses to rent. Whether looking in Portsmouth itself, or the hip and trendy Southsea – it’s pretty much a three bedroom guarantee.
That means you could rent a plush Portsmouth pad with a friend and still have a room spare for an indoor pool / arcade room / zumba centre*.
* Please ask your landlord before installing any of these options.
Pros: Have we already mentioned the whole three bedroom thing?
Cons: Arguments ahoy over the purpose of the third room.
£1,000 in Cardiff would get me:
The Welsh capital may be small but it’s perfectly formed and £1,000 per calendar month will go a long way to getting you two or three bedrooms right in the centre (even the possibility of views of the bay). Although the architecture of Cardiff doesn’t offer the high-ceiling town-houses of elsewhere in the country – you’re at least dealing with a city centre pad big enough to throw some killer house parties.
We have to worry about Cardiff’s estate agents though, when they’re offering a cupboard under the stairs as a ‘Harry Potter style’ feature of ‘Wonder and Wizardry!’ – the magic of old trainers and a Henry hoover.
Pros: Cardiff’s nightlife is worth a stop near the city centre in itself.
Cons: No, a cupboard under the stairs is not a feature.
£1,000 in Birmingham would get me:
The UK’s second city (that’s your cue for an eye-roll, Manchester) may currently be abuzz with pride following the transformation of New Street station – but that doesn’t mean they’re getting carried away with rent prices.
In student-heavy areas such as Selly Oak, you can still pick up a homely three-bedroomed suburban house for your £1,000 budget – or you can drop a room for a more central location and pick up somewhere sleek and modern in the city’s Jewellery Quarter. Bostin.
Pros: Getting in on a city most definitely on the up.
Cons: You run the risk of sounding like Noddy Holder.
£1,000 in Sheffield would get me:
… or this:
We can only assume that the rumours around it being ‘grim up North’ were put forward by Northerners themselves, attempting to detract shandy-drinking Southerners from picking up all the plush pads.
A search for Steel City apartments reaching the £1,000 mark proves tricky initially, because it seems nigh-on impossible to end up spending that much, without ending up in a converted factory kitted out with mahogany floors and two large bedrooms. However, you have to worry about the landlord unwilling to move a few Coca Cola bottles and put away the ironing board before looking for potential renters.
Pros: Trams, Warp Records, The Leadmill – what’s not to love?
Cons: Does the Coke bottle count as furnishing? If so, we’d prefer it unfurnished.
£1,000 in Leeds would get me:
There was a time when renters in Leeds would laugh at those around the country nestling in to their Hobbit hovels, from the top floor of their Headlingley town houses.
Now it seems that the market has finally caught up with the idea of demand and letting in the Capital of the North isn’t quite what it used to be. However a two bedroom city centre penthouse, complete with pillars, arced ceilings and ‘eighties-music-video-set-white’ walls and carpets is still very much a possibility.
Pros: As long as El Faro is still going, no other reasons are needed to move to Leeds.
Cons: Things used to be so cheap that even a slight bump in prices feels like a kick in the teeth.
£1,000 in Manchester would get me:
Whilst the city’s development into a ‘Northern Powerhouse’ continues – living in Manchester still remains very much affordable. For £1,000 you can even rent your own spot in the music history, with two-bedroom flats available on the site of the old Hacienda nightclub.
Should we not worry that Manchester has sold off its cultural heritage – the vast red-brick factory spaces once hubs of industry and culture – for nothing more than luxury homes? Or should we wait for the en-suite bathtubs to catch our falling tears?
Pros: You’re living on the site where The Happy Mondays’ Bez first learnt to shake a maraca.
Cons: The Hacienda is now an apartment building and you wonder why the UK’s nightclub scene is in tatters.
£1,000 in Newcastle would get me:
Geordies are friendly aren’t they? Like, really bloody friendly. Ask someone in the city centre for directions and they’ll probably give you a piggyback directly there.
With trendy areas like Heaton, Jesmond and Gosforth dishing out three bedroom apartments for the same price as studio apartments down South – it may be time to consider the Toon. Although we have to worry about the climate of a city boasting about ‘qaudruple glazing’.
Pros: What you pay in rent, you’ll make back on ridiculous drink deals.
Cons: It will be cold and wearing a jacket is seen as a sign of weakness.
£1,000 in Edinburgh would get me:
There was a time when Edinburgh sat just below London in the UK’s priciest property rankings (now overtaken by oil-rich Aberdeen) and although a visit during the Festival may have given you the impression that the best you can expect is a cupboard, complete with a pull-out bed and photo of a loch blu-tacked to the wall – everyday living prices remain far more affordable.
Although you may be struggling to pick up anything more than two rooms that isn’t out in the sticks (Leith always the exception), you’re pretty much guaranteed apartments with historic high ceilings that are both beautiful and a nightmare to heat in the winter.
For £,1000 a month you can afford to rent in the city’s more affluent hotspots such as Morningside and the new Quartermile area, complete with men in corduroy and places that do Eggs Benedict for breakfast – meaning you’ll have to travel for your greasy spoon hangover cure.
Pros: All that culture and those castle views.
Cons: £1,000 is what you pay for a trolley and a sleeping bag by the Water of Leith during the Fringe.
£1,000 in Glasgow would get me:
Whilst Edinburgh may boast about the cobbled streets and historic monuments – those over in the West would argue that Glasgow has the party vibes.
Your money could pick you up a two bedroom flat right in the heart of the city, within a few minutes of Sauchiehall Street. Or alternatively you could take the ‘clockwork orange’ over to the hip West End and move into a place with a living room you can actually walk around and an artisan coffee roaster right on the corner.
Pros: Gigs on your doorstep, 5am licences and spacious flats.
Cons: The 24-hour McDonalds means you’re not making the most of your kitchen utensils.
£1,000 in Belfast would get me:
We’re not going to lie Belfast, despite our thorough research it seems difficult to spend up to £1,000 on residential letting in your fair city. However, you could pick up an office space in Forsyth House, complete with a conference room, workspace and your own office to build your business empire and, possibly, sleep underneath the desk.
Alternatively, a move to the leafy village of Hillsborough means you can make yourself at home in a three bedroom end terrace, complete with a dining room, landing, fireplace and arch windows looking out onto your garden. Suck it, London.
Pros: You can live like Lord Alan Sugar at home or at work.
Cons: Hillsborough finished third in the Ulster in Bloom large village competition of 2007. A shameful bronze.