It’s no surprise to hear that the property market has seen a lot of change across 2020, with ups and downs galore, and the lettings market is no different.
Priorities have changed for many following the pandemic, and this is no different for tenants.
The Property Academy Tenant Survey 2020 has found that over a third of tenants said that affordability is now more important than pre-lockdown, which comes as no surprise to me.
With uncertainty continuing, and looking set to continue for the foreseeable future, whilst jobs are at risk now more than ever, it’s natural that tenants are becoming more conscious of the amount that they are spending on rent each month.
It’s likely that across the next few months many tenants may look to reduce their monthly outgoing on rent by moving away from cities, which often come with a price premium.
Moving away from a city can often provide a tenant with better value for money. Over a third of tenants also said that a garden had become more important, too, which again makes me believe that tenants will be looking for homes with more space but at a cheaper rental price.
How can I speak about priorities changing without of course mentioning working from home? Many tenants never expected the need for a home office, or at least enough space to work from home as a regular occurrence when they started their tenancy.
However, the need for this additional space and need for good quality broadband have also quickly risen up the priority list.
But what does this mean for landlords? In my opinion, landlords have a real opportunity to take advantage of these changing priorities and, of course, the stamp duty holiday. Landlords looking to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday and expand their portfolio may want to look at properties that fit these new tenant requirements to make sure that they can meet the needs of future potential renters.
Letting agents should also be taking this time to look at how they can get the most out of their properties for their landlords by really highlighting properties that match these new requirements in the property’s marketing.
Most people may now be looking for a ‘home office’ rather than a second bedroom. Tenants will also want upfront information regarding broadband speeds and nearby open space, so agents need to start providing this information to help catch the interest of potential tenants.
This year has been a year of change, and it doesn’t look set to stop anytime soon. Landlords and agents that want to make progress and bounce back from the lockdown need to take a real interest and understand how tenant priorities have changed and what they can do to meet their needs.
This could be something small like providing up to date information on local broadband providers, to more significant changes such as providing office furniture in a furnished second bedroom.
*Ellie Donaghy is Head of Lettings at Andrews Property Group