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News: Renters willing to pay more for larger homes in towns and suburbs

Tue, 15 Sep 20

New research from Countrywide brand Hamptons International suggest tenants are joining vendors in a trend towards leaving cities and heading for more spacious homes in towns and suburbs. 

In the four months between May and August, 34 per cent of tenants that moved home upsized, adding at least one extra bedroom.  

This compares to 25 per cent during the first three months of the year.   

Specifically, a quarter of moves post-lockdown were from a flat to a house, compared to 16 per cent during the pre-pandemic period in the first three months of 2020.

Upsizing tenants added an average of 1.4 bedrooms between May and August, paying an additional 23 per cent in rent; in cash terms this equates to an average of £149 per month more. 

The desire to upsize was driven predominantly by the size of property in which a tenant had been living. 

Some 88 per cent of tenants who moved out of a studio apartment swapped it for a larger home, while 72 per cent traded up from a one-bed property and 25 per cent moved from a two-bed home to a larger space.         

Tenants living in the South East were most likely to trade up, with 47 per cent of those moving post-lockdown adding at least one bedroom in their move and spending an additional £266 pcm on average.  

Then came the North West (37 per cent adding at least one bedroom) and then London (where 33 per cent added at least one bedroom).

Some 63 per cent of London renters who upsized chose to leave the capital, typically moving into a cheaper location outside of London and therefore spending less. 

As a result, London was the only region where the cost to a tenant of upsizing their home actually cost them less as they moved to les expensive areas. The average London-based tenant looking for more space spent £86 pcm less, despite gaining at least one extra bedroom.  

“Renters have joined homeowners in the race for space by rushing to the suburbs where the number of tenants looking to rent is up on last year” explains Aneisha Beveridge, head of research at Hamptons International.

“With tenants’ priorities changing, upsizers have swapped smaller city centre flats for three-bed semis on the fringes of town. While the premium placed on green space is growing each month, upsizing tenants have typically stuck to the outskirts of cities they know rather than leaving altogether” she continues.

“While the race to suburbia has mostly been dominated by tenants in their mid-thirties onwards, younger tenants too have an increased appetite for additional space. For these groups, this typically means moving from a room in a shared house into a studio apartment, or from a studio into a one-bed home with its own separate living and sleeping space.”

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