Private rented sector to age in next decade

The number of privately rented households headed by a person over the age of 45 will increase by 1.4 million by 2035, according to research conducted on behalf of Paragon Bank.

According to new research by the Social Market Foundation (SMF), the private rented sector will get older in the next decade, as the proportion of younger private renters decrease.

The research found that the proportion of households with heads aged under 34 would decrease from 39% to 35%.

However, the age group 35-44 would see the biggest decline in their share of privately rented households, from 25% to 15% by 2035.

The forecasts are part of a wider trend that sees the total proportion of privately rented households increase from 20% to 22% while home ownership decreases from 63% to 61%.

The SMF survey found that many tenants see their status as a long-term one, with 61% of tenants in the 35-54 age bracket expecting to still be renting in 15 years’ time. Similarly, a significant majority (81%) of the renters aged over 55 expect to be in the same position.

However, younger renters have different expectations with only 32% of renters aged under 34 expect to be renting in 15 years’ time.

Richard Rowntree, managing director of mortgages at Paragon, said: “The challenge for the private rented sector is how to adapt to accommodate more mature tenants, including where and how they want to live.

“The SMF tenant research shows that more mature tenants want greater security in the form of longer tenancies and control over their property, such as the freedom to make cosmetic changes. They also want to have pets in their homes and these are all things landlords need to consider.”

Amy Norman, senior researcher at SMF, highlighted that rates of construction, interest rates, house price inflation and government housing policy would all factor in to what the rent future will look like.

She explained that as renters get older, it means “we need to revisit our preconceptions about renting being the preserve of young, mobile households”.

“Mature tenants have different needs and preferences,” she said. “They want accessible, ground-floor homes within a stone’s throw of shops, transport links, health services, and their loved ones. Policymakers, developers, and landlords therefore face a challenge ahead to future-proof the private rented sector and ensure that renting policies and homes are suitable for all tenants, including those who are renting for longer and into later life.”

The survey found that 48% of renters over the age of 55 said proximity to shops was in their top three priorities with good transport facilities (40), proximity to friends and family (36%) and proximity to health services (34%) also scoring highly.