In order to provide an insight into the current UK rental market and current renters’ feelings towards their living situation, Knight Knox conducted an exclusive survey of 2,000 UK renters, courtesy of OnePoll.
It comes as no surprise that the largest age demographic of tenants surveyed by Knight Knox and OnePoll were between the ages of 18-35 (52.2%), but what was surprising is the large proportion of renters between the ages of 35-55 (47.8%).
The growing number of older tenants goes some way to explaining why the average respondent has lived in 3 rented properties in their adult life, with just under half (49%) responding that they have lived in between 4-8 rented properties in their lifetime.
However, a huge 75% of respondents have stayed in each of their rental properties between 1-5 years, with an additional 18% staying in each of their rental properties for more than 5 years.
The largest demographic of renters polled live with their spouse and/or children (63.8%), with nearly 31% of these aged 35-55+. Unsurprisingly, the largest proportion of respondents who live alone or with friends or housemates is those aged 18-35 (15.5%).
However, within each age-group there is a definite preference of living:
· 60.6% of respondents aged 18-24 prefer to live with either a partner or friends (60.6%)
· 60% of those aged 25-34 live in their rental property with a just partner, or a spouse with children
· 60.6% of 35-44 year olds live with just a partner, or a spouse with children
· 29.5% of 45-54 year-olds live with their partner or spouse
· Of those over the age of 55, the majority live alone - 41.6% - or with a partner or spouse - 37%.
The age of the average renter is growing and, as a result, their living conditions are changing. A large number of renters aged 18-54 live with their partner either with or without children, but, as the age of the renter increases, so too does their preference for living alone.
52% of UK renters said they are currently in the Private Rented Sector (PRS) because they can’t afford a deposit. This comes alongside national statistics that the average deposit has surpassed £52,000 for the first time, with predictions that the average deposit needed to secure a home will increase by 19.2% to £64,000 by 2020.
Nationwide, 60.6% respondents said they are content with renting, citing factors such as “not willing to be tied down to a mortgage” and “renting better suiting their lifestyle”. Only 24% said they were actively saving for a deposit at the current time, showing that life in the PRS is an active choice for many UK renters.
Surprisingly, renters in London and the South are in line with these national averages, despite the fact that the average London house price is 10 times the average UK salary. 54% of Southern respondents are unable to afford a deposit and many more are not actively aspiring to homeownership in the foreseeable future.
While London and the Southern regions may be in line with the rest of the UK when it comes to motivation to rent or to buy, there is a clear North/South divide when it comes to rents.
While the average rent in the North comes in at a moderate £512.75 pcm, the average rent in London is 46.2% higher, at £749.82 pcm. However, the problem is far more acute than numbers suggest - a massive 41.5% of Londoners say their rent is £750-£2,500 per calendar month, with the majority citing their rent in the region of £750-£1,500.
In the North of England, 88.8% of respondents say their rent is in the region of £200-£750, with more than half paying in the region of £300-£500 per month.
While the rental discrepancy is more acute in the North versus the South, average rents in the rest of the UK are even lower still. Across the East, the West Midlands, Yorkshire & the Humber, Northern Ireland and Wales, the average rent is £499.76 pcm. Wales is the most affordable of the East/West regions at £457.93 pcm and East Anglia the most expensive at £580.59 pcm.
Given the escalating cost of renting across the UK, renters have an understandably large shopping list when it comes to choosing their perfect rented property. By a landslide, the three most popular amenities respondents chose when it came to when choosing a rental property were location (75%), affordability (66%) and size of the property (36%), with amenities such as nearby transport links (24%) and available parking spaces (17%) coming a close third and fourth respectively.
This goes to show that even though the majority renters are content to rent, this is only the case if they have a good property which is reasonably priced and in a convenient location.
While a proportion of renters are saving for homeownership, the majority are not because they have either resigned themselves to the fact that they are unlikely to ever own their own home or because they actively prefer renting rather than a mortgaged home.
These two very different viewpoints could represent the two main demographics currently in the PRS - the younger generation are still optimistic about owning their own home one day and so are currently saving for a deposit (32.7%), while older renters are content to rent in perpetuity (57.9%).
The data also shows that rents differ greatly across the country, with London the most expensive place to rent in the UK and Wales the least expensive. Average rents vary across the country, but one thing is clear: tenants know what they want from their rental accommodation.
The stage is set for buy-to-let investment to keep growing. With the number of renters growing and the duration each tenant stays in a property also increasing, there has never been a better time to invest in property.