What do European city dwellers desire in their living environments?


Strong WiFi coverage and environmental measures are the most appealing features to have in city dwellers’ living environments within the next five years.

A recent study revealed what city dwellers desire in their living environments, in addition to views from real estate professionals on the future of the rental market. The research was conducted by FTI Consulting on behalf of CMS, an international law firm, in July 2019.

Ciaran Carvalho, head of real estate at CMS UK, stated: “Urbanisation, new lifestyles, different work patterns and increasing mobility are changing Europe’s cities.

“What used to be referred to as ‘generation rent’ has become a phenomenon that goes well beyond a narrow demographic group. This has prompted growing investor interest in private rented sector (PRS), later living and co-living in particular.”

To uncover city living preferences, 6,500 people were surveyed who live and work in six key European cities, including London, Manchester, Glasgow, Paris, Berlin and Amsterdam. Views of more than 200 real estate professionals were also gathered, and 11 interviews were conducted with developers, investors and operators active in the residential sector.

Desired features and facilities

For consumers across all age ranges and cities, superfast internet and strong WiFi coverage were found to be the most appealing features to have in their living environment within the next five years. Environmental measures were also deemed important as electric vehicle charging points and smart meters were named the second and fourth most desirable. Collection lockers for deliveries and secure bicycle storage were also included in the top five.

When looking for their next property move, consumers deem safety and security, proximity to transport links and spacious living room area the most important. Real estate professionals were also asked what they thought were the biggest priorities for consumers. The industry and city dwellers were out of sync when it came to permission to keep pets with 43% of consumers saying it’s an integral factor, yet only 10% of real estate professionals thought that was the case.

A recent study carried out by lending platform Landbay revealed what UK tenants want from their rental property. Allowing pets was the most important requirement. Second on the list was unfurnished homes; however, there was a split in the results for different age groups. Another big draw for tenants was having a garden. It can be difficult to know what today’s renters want, but catering for their needs can help landlords have happier, healthier relationships with tenants that benefit both parties.

Views on the rental market

The study by CMS also looked into people’s views on renting. The survey showed 61% of people would consider renting when they retire as older tenant numbers are soaring. Additionally, 56% of all consumers and 72% of iGens stated home ownership is becoming less important. This further shows people’s views are changing about renting.

Among professionals in the real estate sector, 64% believe demand will grow across the entire spectrum of residential alternatives, while 92% forecast demand for retirement living to grow over the next five years. And 72% think there will be an increasing demand for co-living as a residential solution.

“Our findings indicate that we are going to see unprecedented levels of interest and investment in all forms of rented accommodation in Europe’s leading cities,” Ciaran Carvalho commented.

“This will reshape the local housing markets from an economic and political standpoint, but more importantly will better reflect how people of all ages want to live, work and play in our cities in the future.”

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What do European city dwellers desire in their living environments?


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