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 country's new rental tenants? and Who are the city's new rental tenants? we look at who this diverse group of new tenants are and why they're renting.
Country tenants' priorities are still very focused on the quality of the property, and value for money. It is these factors that will influence where they choose to live and what they will or won’t pay a premium for. But green credentials are starting to make their way onto tenant’s radars. This is particularly true among younger renters, who are both environmentally aware and cost conscious: they want to ensure their home is energy efficient. Equally, an outstanding or excellent eco-rating sends a message to the tenant that the property has been invested in.
Eco-friendly properties are more prevalent in the country, but cities beginning to catch up and the number of urban eco-renters is on the rise.
We’re seeing growing numbers of young families relocating out of London for more space, bigger gardens and good schools. But instead of selling up and buying elsewhere, the renting-to-renters are finding tenants for their London homes and renting in the country.
Given the rally in London house prices over the past few years, these young families have either been unable to upsize adequately as children have arrived, or are anticipating further strong price growth over the next decade and are reluctant to sell now. As tenants, they’re taking a long view and expect to rent for up to 15 years as their children go through school, but anticipate eventually moving back to London. It makes good financial sense: a two-bedroom flat in London that might rent out for £2,000 pcm can equate to a spacious three bedroom village house in Winchester.
Over the past two years we’ve seen increasing enquiries from tenants looking to rent a weekend base – at any time up to 10 per cent of our properties are rented by ‘true weekenders’. Typical budgets will range from £1,200 pcm for a cottage to £10,000 pcm for a country mansion. One of the top requirements is proximity to London: most weekenders want to be within 90 minutes of the capital so that they can maximise their time at their property. They like a gardener included in the rent; they also prefer modern conveniences but traditional features – new kitchens and bathrooms in characterful properties.