Newly released figures from rental deposit replacement scheme, Ome, has revealed the high cost of buying and renting a home around hospital sites throughout England and what this means for hard-working front line nurses.
The firm looked at the current average house price for each hospital postcode, the average cost of renting each month, the rental deposit required and how much of the average nurse’s salary would be required to cover these costs.
The research shows that when it comes to renting, the average cost per month around hospital sites in England comes in at £891. This is 5% higher than the current average across England and accounts for 47% of the average nurse’s salary.
The data, therefore suggests that the average nurse is required to find £1,114 upfront for a rental deposit, compared to an average of £1,065 across England as a whole. This deposit cost alone accounts for 59% of the average nurse’s monthly wage.
The issue of rental affordability is, of course, much higher in London where the average rent of £1,905 around London hospitals is 124% higher than the national average. As a result, according to these figures, the average London nurse is paying out 87% of their average monthly net salary on rent, with a deposit requiring more than a month’s wage (109%). In the East of England, the South East, the South West and the West Midlands, the average cost of renting accounts for 43% or more of the average nurse’s salary. A significant proportion of their wage.
The least affordable hospital postcodes are those housing the Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth Hospital in St John’s Wood. The average rent around the hospital tops £3,150, which equates to 144% of the average London nurse’s salary and requires a rental deposit of £3,938 in order to secure a property.
Outside of London, the Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford is home to an average rental cost of £2,037. This equates to 105% of the average nurse’s salary in the area, with a deposit costing £2,546; 131% of the average monthly earnings.
When it comes to buying in the immediate vicinity of a hospital in England, the average house price is 26% higher than the national average at £312,764; with a house price to income ratio of 13.8 compared to just 9.9 across the nation as a whole.
The average house price surrounding hospitals is higher than the English average in a total of five English regions, with London again the highest at £817,898; 213% more than the average in England as a whole with a house price to income ratio of 31.2.
There are a total of five hospitals in London’s W1 postcode where the average house price is an eye-watering £2.4m and with the average nurse taking home an annual net salary of £26,244 the result is a house price to income ratio of 91.5.
Just outside of the M25, St Margaret’s Hospital in Epping is home to an average house price of £616,293; a house price to income ratio of 32.4. Spire Clare Park Hospital in Farnham and Spire Tunbridge Wells in Kent are also home to house price to income ratios of 29.9 and 29.5 respectively.
Matthew Hooker, Co-founder of Ome, commented: “For many of us, the high cost of renting or buying close to our place of work means that we opt to commute in from much further afield and so in normal circumstances, the same may be expected of those working on the front line in our hospitals.
"However, these are far from normal circumstances and our heroes on the frontline are currently working around the clock under extremely tough conditions, with many having to stay away from their families to keep them safe from the risk of the current pandemic.
"Although they are unlikely to be buying or renting an additional property to do so, we wanted to highlight the high cost of securing a place to live close to their place of work and the importance of providing temporary accommodation while they fight to keep the nation safe.
"This opens a wider conversation surrounding the affordability of housing throughout the UK and the current impact this is having on key workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The heroic efforts made by the nation’s nurses to keep us safe must be matched by the nation’s efforts to keep an affordable roof over their heads and mitigate any worries they may have surrounding housing costs. We should all do our bit to ensure the security and safety of these selfless individuals.”