With populations becoming increasingly mobile and renting becoming the preferred choice for more and more people, renters are now looking for properties that encourage community, and they can make a home.
The latest data from Zoopla shows that their top three most requested features were parking, a garage and a pet-friendly rental, the latter of which has risen from 5th to 3rd place since last year.
Outside space is also a critical feature for tenants, with ‘garden’ ranking at number 5 in the UK-wide top 10 and ‘balcony’ coming in at number 8. The data shows that these features are especially important to those in North West England.
Furnished was the fourth most popular search term – and the most popular in Scotland. Properties that accept student tenants and with bills included came in at sixth and seventh place. ‘Bungalow’ comes in at ninth place, and ‘detached’ comes in at 10, showing that privacy and a sense of having their own home is also a feature that tenants value.
The research also showed that what renters want varies slightly by region. Parking was the most searched term across all the areas (except North-West England) while pet-friendly rentals and outside space were also consistently popular.
Those seeking rental property in London are looking more for higher-end features, with both ‘ensuite’ and ‘gym’ appearing in the top 10 most searched words and phrases. In the North East and South West, there is a different sort of feel to the most desired rental properties, with tenants searching for the terms’ rural’ and ‘cottage’ no doubt to benefit from the vast green space in these regions.
The type of property that tenants are looking for also varies by region. A three-bedroom house was the most viewed property type by people using property portals in every region except for London, where two-bedroom flats came out on top.
The fact that three-bedroom homes are so popular reflects the increasingly diverse nature of the rental market. While students consistently make up a large part of the market, Generation Rent has seen a large number of 20-, 30- and 40-something singles, couples and families looking for rental property because they cannot afford to get on the property ladder.
The market has also seen an increasing number of older tenants, including retirees who are choosing to downsize. This may be to help dependents onto the property ladder, live in a more compact space suitable for two people, and/or to live in a more desirable area closer to the hustle and bustle where purchasing a property would be out of reach.
Young professionals in major cities across the UK are also pushing up tenant expectations. With high-quality new builds cropping up across the UK, and the Northern Powerhouse, in particular, renters are seeing how much more than can get from their living quarters, and subsequently seeking out properties with highly desirable locations in city centres, commuter locations or by the riverside. Many properties come complete with terraces or balconies as well as private, secure parking and high-end appliances, ticking many of the boxes for the most desirable buy-to-let property features.
An on-site gym, sauna, cinema and concierge services are also becoming features that young professionals come to expect from their rental accommodation. New build properties are responding to concerns over mental health and wellbeing with social spaces such as residents’ lounges, Japanese-style communal gardens and rooftop terraces. All of these options can tick the “outdoor space” box while responding to the increasingly luxurious expectations from the young professional rental market.
Landlords are lucky enough to have clear criteria for what renters want, region by region, and investors should focus their attention on those properties that meet and exceed tenant desires. They should also make sure that the property or development ticks all the timeless, most-desired buy-to-let property features.
These include excellent transport links nearby, a safe area close to local amenities such as restaurants, bars and supermarkets, and easy access to good schools. Tenants also appreciate a secure property – potentially with added features such as burglar alarm or phone security system – with modern integrated appliances. The age of the property is another crucial deciding factor, with many tenants opting for new builds to avoid the hassle of repairs and maintenance.
We can see that choosing a property that tenants will love means choosing one that comes ready-to-live-in with no need for maintenance or repairs. The most desirable properties will include plenty of value-added services that respond to a growing demand for luxury accommodation to meet the social, physical and practical needs of tenants.
Keyword search analysis shows that parking, furnished and balcony all make the top 10, while young professionals in big cities are increasingly looking for higher-end, ‘hotel-style’ amenities such as gyms and residents’ lounges. There is a wide range of new builds cropping up across the UK that firmly meet these criteria and our expert team at Alesco are ready to introduce you to these opportunities.
Contact us today for more details.