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Increase in long-term rentals

Four in 10 people who rent a home expect to be renting a property for up to a decade; an attractive proposition for buy-to-let landlords.

The survey, commissioned by property and construction consultants McBains Cooper, will also provide a welcome boost for the build-to-rent market.

The survey of more than 2,000 people who rent a home also reveals that one in four people now devote more than 40% of their income towards funding a rental accommodation.

The study also shows that renters also look for ‘traditional’ factors when choosing a rented home – such as affordability, room size and outdoor space rather than shared amenities such as sports facilities or communal spaces.

Michael Thirkettle, chief executive of McBains Cooper, said: “Our survey shows that renting for the longer term is becoming more common.  For some it might be because they are priced out of the housing market, for others, it may also reflect a more Continental attitude where people are content to rent rather than buy.  Either way, the potential for PRS and build-to-rent is clear.

“The findings will be of particular interest to investors and developers in the PRS and build-to-rent sector.  Interestingly, a high proportion of the older generation are now long-term renters.  This might reflect the more ‘traditional’ characteristics in terms of the most important factors people look for when choosing rented accommodation – such as room size and a garden or outdoor space, as opposed to amenities like sports facilities or a cinema and internal communal spaces.”

Separate analysis from Savills shows that demand for rented homes will rise by more than one million households over the next five years despite government measures to help ‘generation rent’ become ‘generation buy’.

The government has a target of building 400,000 new affordable homes for sale over the course of this parliament, but Britain will still require an additional 220,000 homes for rent a year, the firm says.

Policy will curb some of the demand for rented homes, but demand is such that researchers at Savills forecast that the sector will grow by 1.1 million households by 2021, even assuming the 400,000 homes target is reached.

“Demand for rented homes could still rise more sharply than we have forecast,” said Susan Emmett, director, Savills residential research.

According to the English Housing Survey, private renting has been growing by a staggering 17,500 households per month on average over the 10 years to 2014.

“This analysis demonstrates that we still need to provide a substantial number of homes for rent,” Emmett added. “Government policy should focus on supporting the development of new homes to rent as well as to buy.”

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