11 January 2019 | Jonathan Stein
The Resolution Foundation recently found that millennials make up 28% of the UK population yet only hold 6% of the housing wealth. With so many reconciled with a lifetime of renting, agents need to begin to tap into and understand what this demographic of renters really want to see from their accommodation providers in order to capitalise on the opportunity they represent.
The lettings market has long been plagued with negative stereotypes, and with such a huge influx of the UK population looking for places to rent, those agents who exceed expectation and deliver superior service will find themselves best placed to grow their business and market share.
Here at Vaboo, we’re constantly on a mission to better understand the changing wants and needs of modern-day renters to provide unique insights that benefit our clients’ businesses.
We had a quick chat with a few renters to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges they are up against as millennial renters. This brought up some interesting and surprising perspectives…
There’s no place like home(owning)
Sally* moved to London about 2 years and recently moved into a new property.
When asked what she thought about renting:
‘I don’t feel like anybody likes renting, everyone wants to be able to own their own home... I think having more certainty when it came to tenancy length would be a good way of improving the experience and making it feel more like owning’
When asked what it was that motivated her recent move:
‘What drew me to my current house was the Vaboo perks platform, it really stuck out to me that my agent cared enough to offer me something extra just by renting through them. They also had more of a variety when it came to deposits which were another persuasive additional benefit.’
With owning a home being such a priority, it would be easy to assume that Sally was saving every spare penny she had:
‘Sometimes it feels like if you can save £200 a month does that really matter? How much of an impact is that going to actually have when saving for a deposit? You’re either saving loads or nothing.’
A different perspective
George is a little different from Sally – although ideally, he would like to own his own home one day, it’s not such a major priority:
‘I’m currently setting up my new business, and for now, that is my sole focus. That’s why I like renting – it’s enabled me to be flexible and to move around depending on what the business has required.’
‘If I was to win the lottery, I wouldn’t put money into a house I would invest it in my business.’
‘Ultimately, renting in London is expensive – you get a lot, but you have to give a lot when you live in one of the best cities in the world and that’s just the way it is.’
‘Something like Build to Rent is really appealing. With so many people working from home these days, having access to amenities or working spaces is a very attractive proposition and would be worth paying more for’
Looking to Europe
Dan is a recent graduate and feels very strongly that the UK has got its priorities wrong when it comes to renting:
‘We’re all so obsessed with owning our own homes. We really should be looking to the continent to get a better understanding of how we can make renting a long-term housing solution.’
‘Really if services were to improve and commitment to customer experience was to reflect what you see in other industries I wouldn’t have a problem with renting my entire life. I think the inconsistency of service and lack of certainty around how long you can stay are the major issues of renting in the UK today.’
The opportunity for agents
It’s a tough time to be a letting agent, and with all the changes ahead there will be many that end up going out of business. Building a service that is committed to responding to renter demand and concern and attracts the most suitable renters is the surest way of successfully navigating the current tide of change.
Not only will it create happy and reliable renters, but it will also prove invaluable when winning new properties from landlords. In times of uncertainty, being able to convince landlords that your service is a cut above the rest and retains and attracts the best possible renters who pay rent on time and look after their properties is incredibly persuasive.
Our renter perks and engagement platforms enable agents to regularly engage with their renters, increase sentiment towards their brand and help renters combat affordability concern. On top of this, the platform also serves as an excellent opportunity to identify new revenue streams.
* All renters' names have been changed