Over 2,000 tenants across London were surveyed as part of the Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward (KFH) Annual Tenant Barometer.
Against the backdrop of the pandemic, it was an opportune time to ask tenants about shifting priorities. While there are new themes running through tenants’ wish lists, the overriding factor of affordability is now more important than ever.
Tenant wants and needs
Despite the economic uncertainty the pandemic has created, there is a high demand for longer leases and an ideal opportunity for Build to Rent operators. The KFH data shows that the average lease length sits at 22 months, and 38% of tenants surveyed preferred leases of 18 months or more, with over a third seeking leases of three years or more.
Alongside affordability, there has been a shift in other preferences this year. As more people are spending time at home, 58% of tenants believe that access to private outdoor space is paramount. With working from home, optimal broadband speed is a key factor for 48% of tenants, and a dedicated space to work is important for 44%.
“The pandemic has not only changed how and where we live, but also how and where we work. Tenants want to feel under less financial pressure, and the rental market gives them more flexibility to adjust their living space and environment to suit their different needs.”Carol Pawsey, Group Lettings Director, KFH
A trend towards less urban living
Many tenants are also rethinking their commute times, and this is a considerable factor for 51% of respondents. As a result, they are happy to keep their options open when looking for a rental property. 44% of tenants living in Zones 1 and 2 would consider moving to Zone 3, while 46% of tenants in Zone 3 are open to moving to Zone 6 and beyond.
“It is too early to tell if tenants will trade off commute times against the internal and external space advantages of living slightly further out long term, but tenant sentiment is likely to keep shifting as we move through the next few months.
“Build to Rent (BTR) schemes are often situated away from central London in the outer zones, so an increase in demand will be good news for landlords and Build to Rent operators and will help shape leasing strategies to optimise this.”Paul Masters, Group Operations Director, KFH