Property investors and landlords deciding on their next buy-to-let investment need to keep a close eye on what is important to today’s tenants.
The typical commute for private renters in the UK currently stands at 30 minutes, according to new research released by Landbay, and three quarters of the tenants surveyed said they would only consider buying a home if their commute time was extended by a maximum of 17 minutes.
The findings not only reveal how important commuting times are to today’s tenants, but also the fact that many would choose an excellently located rental property over the chance of getting onto the property ladder. As more people than ever join Generation Rent, and remain in the sector for longer, it seems a major contributing factor is people’s busy lifestyles taking priority.
Prioritising top locations pays off
In this way, build-to-rent’s already growing popularity is expected to soar in the coming years, although all good quality, well located rental properties are likely to attract the most tenants compared to those who do not prioritise location.
Landbay’s research also looked at the way people travel, finding drastic differences between London and the rest of the country – something else property investors operating in different areas can take into account. Across the UK, around a quarter of renters use public transport to commute to work while 38% drive; by contrast, in London almost 70% use public transport compared to just 13% who drive. The north-east has the shortest average commute time of 21 minutes.
John Goodall, CEO at Landbay, says: “The assumption that buying a home is the be-all and end-all for renters is an outdated one. In fact, we know that 85% of tenants are happy renting and taking the first step onto the property ladder comes second to the other needs in their life.
“People want their home to be flexible and appropriate to their lifestyle, which in a world of 24/7 working and shorter stints in each job means that renting is a preference, not a second choice.”
Transport links and central locations
John Goodall continued: “For aspiring landlords this research underlines the importance of buying in the right location. Being within easy distance of major employment hubs is something that should always be considered in the search for a buy-to-let property.
“The assumption that buying a home is the be-all and end-all for renters is outdated.”
The flexibility of rental accommodation is a much-cited reason for people continuing to rent for longer, but choosing a property that is close to excellent public transport links and roads, with a short commute to the highest concentration of local employment, can be a key way of attracting tenants. City centre locations are understandably extremely popular among young professional renters, but properties further afield can also generate huge interest provided the transport infrastructure is there.
It is also important to look at any future transport investment lined up in an area, as this can provide the added benefit of increased capital appreciation for the owner. For example, Crossrail in London will open up huge opportunities for investors over the coming years, while investors can also keep an eye on promised additional funding to transport across the north to predict the next top investment locations.