Centrick releases its Love Where You Live report

Centrick's new report - Love Where You Live - reveals Manchester renters’ wish-list, as the Build to Rent sector booms.

Centrick's report highlights what Manchester renters prioritise and look for when choosing a rental home | BTR News
Centrick's report highlights what Manchester renters prioritise and look for when choosing a rental home.

Birmingham-based agency Centrick – who opened its doors in 2005 – currently has over 23,500 properties across the UK on its books and manages over £3.5bn in client assets. The company has released new research – Love Where You Live – that takes an in-depth look at Britain’s booming Build to Rent market, the factors driving its growth, and why some renters and investors are turning their backs on the traditional private rented sector in favour of Build to Rent developments. 

The research highlights that pet-friendly homes and garden space are top of the wish-list for Manchester renters, with energy efficiency also being a high priority as generation rent continues to grapple with the cost-of-living crisis.

In the year June 2022 to 2023, rental values in Manchester experienced a rise of over 19% driven by an increase in demand and growth in house prices, forcing would-be home buyers out of the market. Garden space is identified as the feature most likely to attract a higher rental price in Manchester, followed by energy efficiency and parking respectively.

Manchester renters also responded positively to private dining and meeting spaces and to developments that welcome pets. However, they are less likely to pay more for co-working spaces in their Build to Rent developments, with only 18% of the survey stating that this would be a feature they are willing to pay more for.

Centrick’s report says Manchester residents reported a mean rental bill of between £900 to £1,100 pcm, with 30% of respondents reporting that their rental expenditure sat between £700 and £800. This makes Manchester the cheapest of the regional locations examined. However, satisfaction and perceived value for money within Manchester is the lowest of all regions surveyed. Only 54.08% of respondents answered ‘yes’ to the question “do you feel your rental property is fairly priced?”

Benchmarking against a national average of 66.1%, this suggests that residents in Manchester are still seeking better from their homes. Manchester residents also report the lowest levels of satisfaction with the current amenities at their rental property and report a -24 Net Promoter Score (NPS). Build to Rent residents in Manchester fare slightly better at -7, yet they still outrank the national combined average of -5. 

82.76% of surveyed respondents in Manchester reported that they get on ‘well’ or ‘very well’ with their neighbours, which is reflective of the national average. However, the percentage of those citing that they get on ‘very well’ sits at 28%, considerably lower than their southern counterparts. For comparison, 40% of London respondents cited that they get on ‘very well’ with their neighbours, and 38% in Southampton. Only 58% described their rental community as ‘very engaged and active’ or ‘somewhat engaged and active’ compared with a national average of over 68% and a comparative response of 73% in neighbouring Liverpool.

Nationally, energy efficiency has emerged as the most important factor when choosing a new home as renters continue to grapple with the cost-of-living crisis, according to a major report on the future of Build to Rent and private rented sector property (PRS) in the UK.

The Centrick report found that over 83% of renters in both Build to Rent and PRS properties reported that energy efficiency was important to them in their rental property, with the availability of garden space and lounge and socialising space completing the renters top three wish-list. Parking and pet friendliness ranked fourth and fifth respectively.

The joint report focuses on six cities – London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield and Southampton – where Build to Rent is rising in popularity with a wide demographic of residents opting to rent instead of buy. The research suggests that renters have significant and varied preferences, with generational and locational trends emerging strongly. Renters show a significant propensity for choice and movement, with over 50% of renters planning to move from their current property within the next 12 months. 

“In recent years, the residential real estate landscape has witnessed the transformative trend known as Build to Rent housing. This innovative approach to housing investment, construction, and management has swiftly emerged as a dynamic and relevant force in the housing market. Our objective is to dig into real world trends from real renters and explore the path forward for both those who seek to invest in Build to Rent developments and those who aspire to call them home.

“This study is driven by the recognition that Build to Rent is more than a mere housing solution; it is a concept that, when well-executed, can redefine the way we relate to the places we live. It carries the potential to create not just spaces, but communities where people feel a genuine connection to their surroundings, fostering a sense of belonging and happiness in their daily lives. Love Where You Live is more than a research paper; it’s a testament to the transformative power of home, and a celebration of the boundless potential of Build to Rent housing in redefining the way we live, love, and create our lives in the future.”

James Ackrill, Founder, Centrick

Centrick’s key findings include: 

  • Birmingham: 87% of renters satisfied or very satisfied with current amenities. 
  • Manchester: Most likely to value pet friendliness.
  • Sheffield: 40% of renters are willing to pay more for parking.
  • London: 88% of renters get on well or very well with the neighbours.
  • Liverpool: 36% of renters are willing to pay more for EV charging facilities. 
  • Southampton: 29% of residents plan to stay put for 18+ months. 

Understanding the variety of factors influencing Build to Rent demand is essential for stakeholders in all walks of the property industry, Centrick state. This research brings together opinions and preferences from 600 Build to Rent and PRS residents to unveil the preferences, trends and demographic viewpoints impacting the market.

Centrick’s study also asked which amenities and features residents would be willing to pay a higher rent for – and parking ranked most highly with 38.69% of responders selecting. Garden space and energy efficiency also featured highly at 37% and 36% respectively, echoing what respondents cited as their most important features. Gym and fitness facilities and EV charging are cited at positions four and five respectively.

With over 80% of residents surveyed responding that energy efficiency was important or very important, it is obvious that this is the key feature for many renters across both Build to Rent and PRS when considering their next move. Only 5.59% of responders stated that energy efficiency was “not important at all”, a testament to the importance of energy costs and sustainability to all residents.