More professionals than students are now seeking shared rentals

The number of people looking for shared rental accommodation is on the rise, especially among professionals and the non-student market. Professionals looking for flat sharing are up by over 30% since the start of the year according to research from Easyroommate, a website specialising in flat sharing.

The actual number of shared rental seekers is now over 50,000 and there are 13% less students than professionals. Numbers decreased at the end of 2011 for individuals searching for rooms but has increased in the last quarter by over 2,000, with the slight reduction being put down to normal lack of demand at the end of the year.

Jonathan Moore, Easyroommate director, says renters at the end of the year are focused on the New Year and Christmas holidays and tend to let things slide until January, which historically tends to be the busiest time for people searching for rental accommodation. Moore says the rental market has remained active with an increase in registered users, with most being professionals rather than students.

The average age of the 14,000 users on Easyroommate is 27 and two thirds are young professionals. Moore explains that shared rentals are viewed as a strong option for renters looking to pay off their student loans and reduce their rent payments by splitting the cost with others.

As student loans start to bite, Moore expects more students to enter the job market rather than continue to study and so the average age of professionals is likely to drop. The majority will be comfortable about the idea of shared accommodation because of their younger age, and may even consider shared rentals with students.

Rents in the UK continue to skyrocket, and a stand alone one bedroom unit rents for close to £1,000 per month, around three times the rental for shared accommodation. Moore contends that this makes flat sharing the better option for young professionals.

Shared accommodation costs vary throughout the country with London being the most expensive at £550 per month. Cambridge and Oxford rentals go for £450 and 405 respectively while further north a shared rental in Edinburgh will cost £350 per month.