Study by Unbiased shows more want to Rent Property

I have been banging on for a while saying that the residential rental sector will be one of the growth areas over the next few years. With the reduced attractiveness of mortgages on offer, concerns over unemployment and a growing desire for flexibility the rental market does offer a strong alternative to homeownership. I will certainly look at it as an option when I next move.

A survey by unbiased.co.uk has been published supporting this view. It says homeowners in the United Kingdom are increasingly considering the option of selling their own residential property and moving into a rented flat or house instead. According to the firm’s research, nearly 1.75 million homeowners in the UK would contemplate selling their house and renting. In fact, nearly one third (32%) of all those who indicated that rental accommodation was an option in the near future also responded that this same route would have been unthinkable only a couple of years ago.

I suspect some of this is a short term reaction to the house price volatility of the last few years, however, it does support the trends we have been seeing over the last few years. As previously mentioned with the growing population and shift in demographics these changes in attitude will only put a growing demand on the private rented sector. The government through the Homes and Communities Agency and private representative bodies such as the British Property Federation are raising the profile (as well as the professionalism) of this sector – something that is critical.

Britons seems to be approaching European attitudes when it comes to perceptions of renting, rather than owning property over an extended period of time. Most countries in Western Europe have vibrant buy-to-let sectors and it is not uncommon for young professionals, established families and even pensioners to rent flats or homes.

The trend of the residential private rented sector growing will continue over the coming years.

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About Neil Young
Chief Executive, Young Group

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