The high cost of renting an apartment in London

London --
At first glance, the advertisement looks impressive: A one-bedroom flat in London's trendy Camden Town, situated in a pretty townhouse and boasting "high ceilings" and "designer marble worktops."

Flicking through the pictures, there are smart wooden floorboards, a Smeg oven and ... Oh wait. Here's the catch: The bed is in the bathroom.

Yes, if you were to roll out of bed you'd find yourself almost smacking into either the toilet or the basin. And the asking price? £1,500 (US$1,940) per month for the 27-square-meter flat, according to estate agent Foxtons. CNN contacted the company -- one of London's leading realtors -- but it declined to comment on the price or how much interest the ad had generated.

What's most shocking, though, is that such a sizable price tag for a less-than-ideal living arrangement is by no means out of the ordinary in London's rental market.

Experts say the British capital is experiencing a housing crisis. A shortage of affordable homes is pricing people out, impacting Londoners' mental health, and -- in extreme cases -- driving up homelessness.

As in many major cities around the world, London is feeling the strain of changing demographics. Young people are moving into urban areas rather than out to suburbs, there's an aging population to house, and an increase in single residents, according to analysts. Meanwhile, wages haven't kept up with rent increases, and the price of land for building new homes has leapt.

All of which has created a "perfect storm," said Paul Hackett, director of London think tank the Smith Institute, whose research includes housing policy in both the UK and Europe.

Elsewhere in Europe, Berlin renters are also feeling the squeeze. But in stark contrast to London, the German capital has implemented a drastic new measure to halt skyrocketing prices.

This week, Berlin became the first city in Germany to freeze rent prices for the next five years. The price cap will affect around 1.5 million rented homes -- 90% of all rental households in the capital, Berlin's Department for Urban Development and Housing told CNN.

The cap doesn't apply to social housing or homes built from 2014 onwards.

(c) CNN 03/05/2020

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