The past year has seen a significant increase in the number of tenants over the age of 30, according to the Countrywide Residential Lettings Index. Over 30s now make up 60% of the rental market, an increase of nearly 6% on January 2013. The greatest increase came among 41-50 year olds, who now comprise 16% of the entire rental market. The number of families renting has also increased in most parts of the UK, especially London (up by 6% since last year), the South West (up by 5%) and the North West (up by 3%). Naturally this has all come at the expense of younger renters, who have either been attracted away by Help to Buy or are still living with parents (in London 22% of 20-34 year olds live in the family home).
So, what do these trends mean for landlords? Generally speaking, it’s good news. Older renters (especially retirees) and families tend to want to stay put for longer so there should be more opportunities to find a stable long term tenant, which reduces the risk of void periods. You may need to fine tune the emphasis of your advertising: Make sure you are aware of how your property might appeal to these groups and adapt your adverts accordingly. Older tenants and families commonly prefer quieter, residential areas. When targeting families, find out about good local schools, sports centres and other such facilities. City locations and commuting links will appeal more to the 30-40 year old ‘professional’ bracket.
As for the private rented sector in general, the trend towards older tenants may be seen by some critics as evidence that rents are too high. Rentify would point towards tenant satisfaction and far from excessive rental yields (and see these new statistics for London) as evidence against this. 20-30 year olds certainly face significant financial pressures and instability but that is down to the current climate and not specifically the fault of landlords. Furthermore, a long term trend we have seen is a shifting perception in favour of renting over buying. Partly a result of immigration from Europe (where renting is more common) and partly an attraction towards flexibility. This shift goes a long way to explaining the trend.