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Rethinking generation rent

18 February 2020

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The most recent English Housing Survey showed a growing tendency among younger people to remain in rented accommodation long-term. Is this evidence of an increasingly challenging climate for first-time buyers? Or does is show a changing attitude to home ownership? And how can agents, in this tumultuous climate, adapt to the changing needs of the market?

 

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Generation rent in four statistics

Earlier this year, we published an article entitled ‘Are young people struggling more than ever to get onto the property ladder?’ In it, we outlined four key findings from the English Housing Survey:  

  • Owner occupation in England has not increased for five years. It has remained steady at 64%. 
  • The number of young people renting has increased dramatically over the past decade. The number of 25-34 year olds living in rented accommodation is 44%, up from 28% 10 years ago.
  • The average age of a first time buyer has increased from 31 to 33 in the past two years. 
  • Nearly half of first-time buyers are couples without children, and only 16% were one-person households - down from 26% the previous year.

At first sight, the statistics paint a bleak picture. People waiting longer to buy a home, couples with children struggling to get onto the ladder, and nearly half of people under 35 renting. 

And it’s difficult to argue with the figures, provided that you’re working on the assumption that ‘home ownership is best’, and that renters will leap onto the ladder as soon as circumstances permit. 

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Contented renters?

Working with YouGov, we surveyed over 600 tenants to gauge their attitudes towards property ownership. We asked ‘How important, if at all, is it for you to buy a property to live in as your main home, either on your own or with someone else, within the next five years?’. 

The result showed an even split. 45% responded with either ‘fairly important’ or ‘very important’, while 44% responded with either ‘not very important’ or ‘not important at all’. 

The remainder either didn’t know (9%) or already owned a property elsewhere (2%). 

Of all the possible responses, ‘not important at all’ had the highest response rate, at 26%.

26% of people said owning a home wasn't important to them at all.
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Age and geographical factors

We did find a greater desire to buy among the younger age group. Of those aged between 18 and 34, 60% said that buying a house within the next five years was either ‘fairly important’ or ‘very important’. 

Across England and Wales, geography made very little difference to the nature of responses. That said, those living in Scotland and Northern Ireland were somewhat less inclined to buy, with only 35% of people in Scotland and 23% in Northern Ireland saying home ownership was either fairly or very important. 

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The appetite for rented accommodation

While letting agents may see their customer profile changing over the coming years, what remains certain is that there is no shortage of potential tenants. And if, as our poll suggests, renters are happy where they are, the numbers are only likely to increase. 

Helping agents achieve success

Tili, the digital home move assistant, is designed to help letting and estate agents increase their revenue, and strengthen their position as an agent of choice. 

Tili connects home movers with relevant service providers, enabling them to set up their energy, broadband TV, council tax and water all in one place. As part of the OVO group, we also offer landlord services such as void utilities management, smart metering and boiler care. And when you introduce your customers to the service, you’ll earn revenue when they use it. 

As a result, you can help take the stress out of moving house for your tenants, buyers and sellers. You can also help reduce the admin involved in managing void properties.

We’ve generated additional revenues of over £4 million in commission, saved home-movers over £3 million on
their energy bills alone and helped agents bypass countless admin headaches - so, it really is a win, win, win!

Get in touch with us to find out more about becoming a Tili partner. 

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