Are you a long-term renter - or would you like to buy the home you live in? Would you like to buy your rented home? If so, you’re in the minority according to Landbay which has carried out a tenant survey just as the Labour party is considering giving renters the right to buy. The specialist buy to let lender, says only 42% of private tenants want to purchase a property, based on a poll of 2,000 private renters in the UK. The survey findings reveal that: Older renters are the least interested in buying a home: only 13% of over 55s want to purchase in the near future. Among those tenants aged 35 to 44, only 46% want to buy. Around two thirds of millennials aged 25 to 34 want to buy soon. There is also a notable gender discrepancy with 47% of women across all age groups keen to buy a home, compared to just 34% of men. The number of people planning to buy is highest in London (48%) and in Northern Ireland (47%). Those in the South West and Wales are least keen, both coming in at 37 % interested in buying - despite relatively lower house prices in these areas. So why are the majority of tenants content to rent? Flexibility of tenure comes out on top and is largely seen as positive. A quarter of renters without home ownership aspirations say it’s the key attraction. As Landbay rightly points out, there is still the assumption that most tenants are simply renting while they save a deposit to buy their own home. But the changing nature of employment, which supports the trend towards more flexible living arrangements make long-term renting attractive to a small but important majority. Earlier this month we slated Labour’s plans to give private renters the right to buy their home - even if the landlord had not put the property on the market. Landbay’s findings point to the wrong-headed thinking behind this proposal. Why pledge to introduce a right to buy policy if renters don’t want to purchase the homes they live in? Instead, any future government should encourage greater flexibility in the rental market, promote development of build-to-rent homes for all ages - not just young professionals - and look at ways to bring homes back into failing town and city centres. High quality, affordable residential property can be a driver to boost local economies and bring people and businesses back into neglected urban spaces. Vibrant, mixed-use development that works for all of us - investors, landlords and a wide range of tenants - must surely be the way forward.
Author : Mary-Anne Bowring
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