National average rent now £777 pcm

26 Meyrick Avenue, Wetherby - �775pcm with Linley & Simpson, 01937 586060.
26 Meyrick Avenue, Wetherby - �775pcm with Linley & Simpson, 01937 586060.

By John Grainger, Property editor

Renting used to be considered the cheap option, but those days are gone – at least for the time being.

Average rental costs have risen by 3.9% in the last 12 months, according to tenant referencing service Home Let; house and flatshare website SpareRoom.co.uk puts the figure at 6.8%.

16 Albany Road, Harrogate - �775pcm with Lentin Smith, 01423 817777.

16 Albany Road, Harrogate - �775pcm with Lentin Smith, 01423 817777.

Property website Zoopla.co.uk says that tenants pay an average 14% more on rent than house buyers pay in servicing a mortgage, and the Halifax claims that buying a home has become £1,440 a year cheaper than renting.

The figures vary, but the message is consistent: in most places, renting is now more expensive than buying – even if, as the Halifax found, it’s only by £1 a month in the case of Yorkshire and the Humber.

What’s more, the trend looks set to continue. A poll by SpareRoom.co.uk found that at least a third of landlords intended to increase their rents in 2013, nearly a third of them by more than an above-inflation 3%.

The picture is bound to be slightly skewed in the Harrogate district, because of its anomalously buoyant property market. There are no figures available on the average rent here, but if it’s £582pcm across the county, £777pcm nationally, and £997pcm in York, you can bet it’s higher still on our patch.

2 Bluebell Meadow, Harrogate - �775pcm with Dacre, Son & Hartley, 01423 877200.

2 Bluebell Meadow, Harrogate - �775pcm with Dacre, Son & Hartley, 01423 877200.

But for the sake of illustration, let’s take the national figure. The following four unfurnished properties are all available at the same rent, which is very close to the UK average of £777.

Number 16 Albany Road (left) is a three-bed terraced house, a manageable walk from Harrogate town centre, just off King Edwards Drive in Bilton.

As well as three double bedrooms, it has a small front garden and a yard with outside storage to the rear.

The deposit is £930 and the property falls within council tax band B (£1,200.64); a washing machine is provided.

53 Pannal Green, Harrogate - �775pcm with Belvoir!, 01423 504121.

53 Pannal Green, Harrogate - �775pcm with Belvoir!, 01423 504121.

In Wetherby, 26 Meyrick Avenue (main photo, above) is a well-presented semi-detached house in a convenient position on the edge of town.

Newly decorated and recarpeted throughout, the property has two double bedrooms and one single, as well as a large lounge with doors opening onto the back garden. There’s also a front garden and a single garage with ample driveway parking.

The deposit is £970 and the council tax band is C (£1,217.45); no pets or smokers are allowed.

Number 53 Pannal Green (left) is a semi-detached house in a quiet cul-de-sac in Pannal. It too has two double bedrooms and one single, as well as a downstairs cloakroom and additional storage space. Outside, there are front and back gardens and a single garage.

The deposit is £975 and the council tax band is B (£1,200.64).

On the other side of Harrogate, 2 Bluebell Meadow (middle photo) is a semi-detached family home on Killinghall Moor. Newly decorated, it has three bedrooms, dining kitchen and double doors leading to the enclosed back garden. The deposit is £875 and the council tax band is C (£1,372.16).