Wood house model with "for rent" tag

How Will the Rental Market Look for Millennials and Students?

25 August 2020 Simon Banks Read time: 3 min
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Simon Banks

The economic fallout of coronavirus is not yet known, leaving people in many industries uncertain about what the future holds. The property market is in the same boat, having only recently woken from its spring hibernation.

And yet, while there are no guarantees in the world of property, signs point towards a swift market recovery. Especially in the rental market, where Millennials and students play a fundamental role in renting property.

If you’re a UK landlord or own a buy-to-let property on these shores, you’re probably keeping an eye on the current rental landscape. At Movebubble, we’re doing the same thing, which is why we’ve put this article together, looking at how the rental market will look for Millennials and students in the coming months.

A bullet-proof rental market?

Before coronavirus and the nationwide lockdown, many predicted that the private rental sector would account for a quarter of all UK homes by 2021. Even with the chaos of the last few months, there’s nothing to suggest the rapid rise in private renters will slow down.

Rental house models sitting on money

It could even increase. With everyone still unsure about how the outlook for the next six to 12 months, renting is seen as the safer option for many. Yes, it’s a financial outlay, but the costs associated with renting are nowhere near the figures needed to buy a house.

Subsequently, we are likely to see an uptick in renters choosing shorter-term options than that of purchasing a property. The result is  good news for landlords who are listing their homes on the rental market in the near future.

Fewer student lets at first; then a surge in demand?

There are almost 500,000 international students in the UK, with each year seeing a new raft head to these shores. And there's the domestic ones, who make up a large proportion of people in higher education. 

Student lets have always been a sure thing. But with many classes moving online during the lockdown, several high-education learners left their rented accomodation and went home or left the UK completely, choosing to continue their studies virtually.

Currently, 89 of the 137 universities in the UK have commited to some form of in-person teaching when the new academic year begins. Though a larger proportion of courses are set to include virtual learning. 

As things stand, demand should be strong for student rentals. There may even be a late rush as those sitting on the fence about accommodation decide they want to get their own place. This could mean an increase in demand, with some students trying to secure homes at relatively short notice.

Tech-friendly letting agents

In a post-coronavirus landscape, we will all rely on technology more than ever. With people more reluctant to head outside, there will be an expectation to go through the process of renting a home digitally.

Letting agent using technology

Letting agents who embrace technology stand a better chance of renting out your investments faster. There are plenty of options on the market, where agents can partner up with forward-thinking solutions that use tech to secure verified Millennial and student renters. 

Faster ways to secure a home

If there are any positives to take from the current climate, it’s the acceleration of technology. During the lockdown, virtual viewings were all the rage as renters found themselves rooted indoors. But even as physical viewings get the green light, many renters are happy to stick with video viewings.

Millennials and students are tech-savvy, and they expect fast, tech-led solutions – whether it’s in the banking, ride-hailing, food and beverage or property market. These include the ability to find, view and offer on a property without leaving their current residence.

One of the ways to achieve faster lets is through video viewings. Not only does it solve the issues involved with coordinating a time where everyone can attend the viewing; it also speeds up the rental process, which means fewer void periods for your properties.

Students will also benefit from video viewings and being able to secure a property faster, especially if there's a last-minute rush to find accomodation before term starts in September and they're coming from abroad. 

New needs in the rental market

Pre-lockdown, big-city apartments close to public transport were all the rage. Nowadays, there’s a growing desire for properties with more open space, with remote working and studying somewhat reducing the need for good travel connections.

Renters looking for more open spaces

There won’t be a complete 180, as big cities will always have their admirers and are where there’s a concentration of wealth. Properties on the outskirts of big cities, however, could increase in importance for Millennials and students who may be fearful of a second lockdown and prefer to have their own outside space.

More rural areas will only work if there's a strong internet connection, however. So expect more renters relying on fast internet speeds that let them work and study remotely. 

2020 and beyond for Millennials and students

While making a sweeping prediction about the future of the rental market is anything but easy, the overall outlook is promising. As a landlord, you want to make sure that you’re working with a letting agent who adopts tech-led initiatives to secure the Millennial and student renters on the market in the next few months. Then you’ll be well placed to take advantage of the surge in demand and minimise your void periods.

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