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industry insights   |   Jan 15, 2020

Can Build-to-Rent Developers Give the Public What They Want?

The Build-to-Rent sector is in a truly exciting stage as it continues to grow quite rapidly, offering the public many solutions when it comes to finding the perfect rental home. 

Data was collected from 6,500 people living across six European cities - two of those cities being here in the UK (London and Manchester) - and compared with the opinions of 206 real estate professionals.

The results are nothing short of fascinating and show, in some instances, the disparity between what renters say they want and what the industry currently offers.

The Findings

While the results of the research between renters and real estate professionals were evenly matched in some areas, in other areas there were quite significant differences.

The survey shows that a massive 83% of the real estate sector think that being close to public transport links is important to renters; on the flip side, only 58% of renters marked this as being integral to their choice in renting a property.

It appears that renters now are more keen in actually living close to their place of work, rather than just being close to public transport links.

So what do renters want?

Through our own research and findings completed recently here at Movebubble, we produced a list of nine things that are most important to modern-day renters when choosing a home. In no particular order, these are:

  • Bills included
  • Outdoor space
  • En-suite bathroom
  • Dedicated secure parking
  • Pets allowed
  • Unfurnished properties
  • High-end kitchen appliances
  • Weekly cleaning
  • Gym

One of the major findings in our article which was mirrored in the data collected, demonstrating the importance of renters being able to bring a pet into a property. 43% of the people surveyed said that this would be integral to their choice of rental property, compared to just 10% of real estate professionals. It’s great to see that more and more of our Build-to-Rent partners are offering pet-friendly homes to renters as time goes on.

Why the disparity?

There could be a number of reasons why the disparity between what the industry provides and what the public says they want, exists. We’re going to look at a couple of them here...

The market is diverse and changing

Many Build-to-Rent properties cater to a millennial market; with ease and convenience at the core. Findings show that 56% of respondents think that owning a property is much less important than it used to be.

Millennials do make up the majority of renters in the UK currently, but that could all be set to change as different and wider demographics begin to choose renting over buying. This, of course, means that the needs of renters are constantly changing, and so there will be a time lag as developers try to meet those demands.

The cost of amenities

In the data that we looked at, 28% of people thought access to a swimming pool was important, whereas the industry predicted this at 5%. From Movebubble renters we know that 9% of 24,103 favourited Build-to-Rent properties listed with Movebubble were homes that offered a gym, showing that for our renters this is an important factor when looking for a rental home. 

However, when these amenities are under-used, somebody still has to put up the cost - in turn, pushing renters who don’t want such amenities, away.

How can we close the gap?

So how can the disparity between what renters want and what the sector provides be lessened? 

Data, data, data!📣

Build-to-Rent developers should place the utmost importance on getting to know their prospective renters and learning about their needs, while collating together as much data and feedback as possible.

At the end of the day, the private rental market is all about serving the needs of renters, and with the sector set for continued growth, it is important now more than ever that Build-to-Rent developers provide consistent value. 

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