What are Londoners looking for when searching for a house or flat to rent? A report by Knight Frank shows that as of 2019, location has become one of the most important factors for London renters. Of course, budget and living space are still significant. But the proximity to work, public transport, good schools, shops and supermarkets, and green space are some of the first things residents look for when shopping for a new home in London. New real estate search tools, like SearchSmartly.co, use these factors to help renters zero in on the house or flat for their needs.
What are the top five things people look for when they rent flats in London? They’re considering proximity to work, proximity to public transport, catchment area of a good school, more living space, and proximity to green space.
Proximity to Work
Being close to work to cut down on commutes is a big driver for renters. According to the Knight Frank research, one in five tenants made their last move for work reasons, compared to about half as many homeowners who moved for work. Since COVID-19 hit in 2020, this factor might change for renters. With more people than ever working from home, at least part-time, they’re willing to spend more time commuting to work than they were before. The average commute time in London is rising from 45 minutes to one hour.
Still, some workers have to be on-site or in-office every day despite the coronavirus pandemic. These Londoners still have location in relation to their workplace in mind. Tools that allow you to search for properties by putting in your work address help you visualise your commute better.
Proximity to Public Transport
Proximity to public transport is another important factor that is changing as a result of the pandemic. Before 2019, public transport was a key factor for many Londoners, especially to those without cars. Being close to an Underground station or bus stop is still significant. But since COVID-19, people are more willing to use other forms of transportation to avoid being in cramped carriages with others.
The number of cyclists in London is up by nearly 120 percent as a result of the pandemic. Even though more cycling or walking could put less importance on public transport, it does make location more essential. If you have to cycle or walk to shops, work, or school, you’ll want to live in an area that has all these amenities nearby.
Catchment Area of a Good School
Because of high mortgage rates, many young families are choosing to rent flats in London instead of buy. These families want to be near good schools, so catchment areas are a top rental factor. If parents rent a house in a school’s catchment area, their child’s application will receive priority over those outside the boundaries. Competition over getting into London’s good skills has gotten tough in recent years. The Guardian reports that less than 85 percent of London’s pupils who applied for primary school were accepted by their first choice in 2020.
As getting into to first-choice schools gets harder, parents of young children will focus on living in catchment areas of good schools, to up their chances of getting in. The pressure of finding a good school makes location of a house or flat all the more important to London’s tenants.
More Living Space
Most of the time, when tenants search for a new place to live, they’re after more living space. Demographic groups like iGens (under 25) and Millennials (25-49) are more concerned about upgrading their space. Early twentysomethings who are just graduating or working in their first job will want to move into a nicer place with more room since they have the money to afford it now. The same goes for Millennials, either nesters (couples without kids) or young families.
Living space has become especially important in the midst of the pandemic, as more people spend time at home than they used to. If they stay at home, they prefer to have more rooms, especially if they don’t live alone.
Proximity to Green Space
Balconies, terraces, communal outdoor space, or proximity to parks have become a major consideration for London renters post-COVID-19. Just as staying at home more often has made the demand for larger living space go up, so too has it made the desire for green spaces increase.
People want to be near outdoor areas where they can relax or play without being too close to others. And they don’t want to have to travel far to get to these green spaces. As a result, more residents are searching for flats in London near to parks and other green areas.
Final Thoughts on Renters in London Some needs of London renters stay the same, and some will change. Undoubtedly, the pandemic will affect tenants’ needs and preferences when it comes to finding a new home. As these needs shift, real estate tools should shift to accommodate them.October 10, 2020