As we continue with imposed regional restrictions in 2021, we are reminded of how it began and what it has taught us all so far.

The March lockdown caught many people off-guard and the world was forced to adapt quicker than they had ever expected. The letting market is no different. Tenant priorities have changed, as they look for new features within their tenancies and their properties.

Bigger spaces

Lockdown restrictions and social distancing guidelines throughout the year have forced people to assess their living situations. As more people are working remotely, the demand for extra working spaces has risen. This has been evident in larger cities where extra space, whether indoors or outdoors, can come at a premium. The rise of the home office has pushed tenants to look elsewhere to properties that can match that demand and give them that extra space.

A noticeable trend is the growth in appetite for properties outside of the capital and large cities in the UK. Not needing to be in such close proximity to the office has allowed prospective tenants to widen their radius. Pre-COVID, the thought of living in a city centre high-rise apartment complex wouldn’t come with too many challenges.

Now however, the isolation factor may still linger even with recent news of a potential upcoming vaccine. Time will tell when, and if, normality significantly returns, but people won’t forget. The idea of living in a different type of property, in a different area and possibly nearer family is becoming more popular.

Longer tenancies

The desire for tenants to stay in larger properties for longer has accelerated during 2020. Properties with more indoor and outdoor space have taken precedence over city-centre flats in close proximity to the office. This has ultimately increased the average tenancy length across the board.

Recent data from, Zoopla, indicates that tenant demand in rental property continues to rise. On average, demand from tenants in the private rental sector in September rose by 20% compared to the previous year. This increase has pushed prospective tenants to look for longer rental periods.

While the housing market remains open, remote and virtual management is highly encouraged. IPM are already at the forefront of technology by using their app to help manage, assess and communicate with tenants.

More flexibility

While 2020 has forced many people to adapt, it has also encouraged them to be flexible. More people are looking to try new areas, new properties and new ways of living before they commit to a purchase. This has been the case even pre-COVID.

However, what we are seeing now is more people trying new areas and properties that they otherwise would not have considered. For example, the growth in demand from London-based individuals for properties outside of the capital attests to this.

By renting, tenants can analyse the short to medium-term with an eye on the long-term. What they value now, or previously, might have changed. Tenants can see how the economy responds and whether a vaccine will return us to a more normal working/living environment.

For many, living further away from work and working from home has encouraged a better work/life balance. This trend is showing no signs of slowing down. Therefore, it is becoming clearer how significant the rental sector is for the future of the housing market.

Flexibility doesn’t just mean in terms of how people want to live, but the way the live with the increased rise in pet ownership. Many tenants are looking for flexibility in their leases to allow pets and designated exercise areas within their developments.

There are lots to think about in 2021 but the biggest factor is how we all adapt to these new changes.

 

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