By Daniel Hunter

The cost of renting in the UK is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to figures from the National Housing Federation.

The data suggests that UK renters spend an average 39.1% of their income on rent, compared with the European average of 28%.

The NHF said private tenants make up around 17% of all UK residents. Despite being a relatively small proportion of residents, they are facing high costs. According to the figures, rent in Germany and the Netherlands are around 50% cheaper than in the UK.

The National Housing Federation, which represents housing associations, said renters are less secure in their homes due to short tenancies. But homeowners are benefiting from cheaper mortgage rates and competition between lenders.

The British Bankers' Association (BBA) agreed that there was "fierce competition" in the market and "great mortgage deals" are available.

David Orr, chief executive of the NHF, said: "How can we expect people to raise families, start businesses or save for their first home if they don't even know where they will be able to afford to live?

"High rents are just one symptom of the housing crisis, we are simply not building enough due to under investment and problems with the land market."