Not so long ago, the rental market was dominated by millennials, many of whom were renting because they were unable to get on the housing ladder. But over the last few years we've seen the demographic change considerably as tenants' reasons for renting broaden. We've also noticed a significant difference between the reasons for renting in the city and those for country rentals. In Who are the city's new rental tenants? and Who are the country's new rental tenants? we look at who this diverse group of new tenants are and why they're renting.
The sales market for properties up to £1.5m is very competitive. With vendors often receiving multiple offers, the tendency is to give preference to buyers who are chain free and can therefore move quickly. Chain-free purchases also carry less risk of falling through. As a result, we are seeing increasing examples of would-be buyers completing on their own sale and then moving into short-term rented accommodation before looking for their onward purchase.
As the world becomes increasingly international, the working lives of top professionals are no longer centred around just one city or marketplace. Instead they spend a week or so at a time in several places and rather than stay in a hotel, they want somewhere that feels like home. While still a very small proportion of overall tenants, the number of renters taking up two or more properties in various global cities is on the increase: this year alone we’ve found apartments for two tenants in London who also had rental properties in New York and Malta.
The number of tenants renting numerous properties in cities across the globe is likely to grow over the coming years: what drives these globe-trotters is the uncertainty of where they will be in 12 months' time, so the ability to be flexible and move onto their next adventure means renting is more appealing to buying.
High net worth tenants in London are typically led by convenience of lifestyle and the key driver is always wanting to keep options as open and flexible as possible. However, given some of the uncertainty in the prime sales market and increasing costs of buying in London, we are seeing a number of would-be purchasers coming across to the rental market. It’s still a very discretionary market: a significant proportion of these homes will always be 'off-market' as landlords appreciate that wealthy tenants looking for super-prime homes typically like to rent properties that feel private and exclusive.
Over the past two years we’ve seen a rising demand from couples and professional sharers for pet-friendly apartments. Since the start of 2014 around 40 per cent of our new applicants own pets or are thinking of getting one. Pets’ needs are certainly taken into consideration during a tenants’ property search. We’ve shown an applicant around a two-bed garden flat which was perfect for her, but she decided against it as the shower head was fixed to the wall which meant she wouldn’t be able to wash her dogs in the bath. She also couldn’t consider any flats with too many stairs, as her Chihuahuas wouldn’t be able to get up them. Conversely, we’ve also seen examples of landlords wanting to meet a pet before agreeing to a tenancy.