The Changing Face of Renters by PRSim

Renting is not just a young person’s game.

According to the latest PRSim-LSL Tenant Survey 2018, older or rather ‘reconciled renters’ as the survey terms them, are not only happier to rent but are also more committed to longer-term rentals over and above any other life stage group.

PRSim, a PRS and Build to Rent data, consultancy and operational management business, is responsible for undertaking this annual survey in conjunction with its parent company, LSL Property Services Group. The survey invites the opinions of over 40,000 UK residents – making it the largest and most comprehensive resource of its kind in the UK.

The survey, which was conducted throughout March 2018 and completed by more than 3,700 tenants across the UK, identified three core principles that PRSim believes agents, landlords and developers should adopt and how these can be adapted to different lifestage groups, to make the tenant’s renting experience more successful and the decision making process for Build to Rent developers and investors much easier:

  • Redefining the rules of renting to challenge perceptions of the rental landscape and what tenants can expect it to include;
  • Tailoring and targeting new building initiatives to ensure that new ideas resonate with the different lifestyles of tenants;
  • Fostering strong dialogue with tenants to support success and ensure tenants’ expectations are met.

David Bond, Head of PRS & Build to Rent at PRSim commented:

“Following the success of our previous tenant surveys – which unveiled interesting facts about who rents in the UK, and why – we’ve been able to, this year, identify strong evidence that suggests that assisting tenant’s to budget and plan for their future, involving them more in the design of new living concepts and ensuring a strong and open dialogue with them, is vital to the long term health of the lettings market.

What has also become evident is that tenants have different priorities dependant at what lifestage they may be at, and that while many could be guilty of assuming that renting is only for the young, there is vast and growing demand from tenants of all ages and, increasingly, from older renters who are reconciled – and happy – to rent in the longer term.

Overall, as in the past three years, we see our survey as providing important information that will assist in helping the Private Rental Sector grow and evolve for the benefit of everyone within it.”

Alastair Carmichael, PRS Lead at GVA, a strategic partner of PRSim, said:

“The key takeaway for investors from this survey will be the need to cater for a broad range of tenants. This is not just about young people who see renting as a lifestyle choice, as a nearly equal split of tenants across the key lifestage groups confirms that a BTR development needs to meet the lifestyle, location and economic needs of a real cross-section of our society.

Importantly, some of the key discussions we’re having with investors are those that are equally important to tenants. Investors are already considering alternatives to the traditional deposit, such as phased releases, insurance and the ability to absorb these themselves, and with 63% of tenants intending to buy, investors will likely bring forward the structuring of blended ownership products such as Rent to Buy.”

This year’s findings paint a positive picture for the PRS industry, with more residents than ever bought into the communal living and shared services concept. However, it was the older renters (aged 45+) that stood out with their positive and youthful outlook on renting.

PRS housing for the mature market has long taken a back seat to the surge of modern developments geared towards Generation Rent. However, with nearly 1 in 4 of older people expecting to rent for a further 10+ years, the Silver Generation represents an attractive opportunity for the Build to Rent community.

Encouragingly, over a third of residents surveyed were already aware of ‘Build to Rent’ initiatives, particularly older life stages perhaps due to the recent rise of retirement living and over 50’s developments, appeal for which appears to be growing significantly.

When focusing in on the over 45’s, the survey found that more than half are interested in Build to Rent developments and 43% are willing to consider a development targeted at over 50’s, a significant increase from 2017.

It’s clear that future PRS initiatives should be broadened to cater to the needs of older renters and their desire for a more secure and sociable future, but to also encourage inclusive inter-generational communities in new and existing developments.

Please click here to see a full copy of the report: PRSim-LSL Tenant Survey 2018

To view the findings from 2017 please visit the PRSim website www.prsim.co.uk/tenant-survey.