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The rise and rise of the private rented sector

Posted by Stuart Prior

As experts in the UK property market, it’s our job to keep an eye on housing trends and to watch as the tides change in the rented sector. The popularity of rented housing has seen its fair share of peaks and ebbs over the years, though at this point in 2014 it seems to be going from strength to strength.

The UK faces a growing housing shortage resulting from our steadily rising population and an increase in immigration, especially from within the EU, in the past decade. This housing shortage is putting pressure on house prices across the country, particularly in urban areas and cities. While homeowners may be jumping for joy, many younger people are beginning to find themselves priced out of the housing market by this bubble. For these people, or ‘rentysomethings’ as they’re being called in the media, affordable rented property is nothing to be sniffed at.

Renting boasts a number of advantages over buying, and it’s these unique benefits that our generation of rentysomethings value. Renting is, above all, far more flexible than owning. Owning a house comes with added financial responsibilities in order to maintain the property, and buying a house or a flat is essentially making a commitment to live in the same place for, generally, the next five to ten years. Renting, on the other hand, comes with no such baggage.

Rented property is no longer being seen as simply a ‘stop gap’ by younger generations; renters are increasingly looking to rent properties that they can really love and enjoy. We’ve certainly seen a growing demand for high-quality rental units in the past few years as people seek to find a home to call their own, even if it is not, exactly, their own. Rentals boasting added services, such as a 24/7 concierge, parcel collection and included broadband are rising in popularity, and are no doubt helping to disprove the myth that all rented property is cheap or shabby.

Our rentysomethings are by now well aware of the fact that they may indeed spend the majority of their twenties and thirties in rented accommodation – so why slum it? Living in a shoebox is fine for a few years, but now that renting is most young people’s reality for a decade or more, it becomes important to make roots in rented properties, too. This has given rise to longer term tenancy agreements, which were once highly uncommon. While a longer term tenant may lose a little of the flexibility gained from renting, the added security is usually worth it for those who have no plans to move.

The UK housing market has changed considerably in the past few decades, and no doubt will in the next few. Perhaps the biggest changes we’ve seen have been in the private rented sector, where the perspective has changed entirely. No longer are rented properties seen as a ‘last resort’ option; on the contrary, there is perhaps nothing the average rentysomething desires more than a flexible, affordable tenancy agreement on a luxury rented property in an area that they would otherwise find themselves completely priced out of.

 

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