Energy Efficiency Tops Renters Wish List As Generation Rent Tackles Cost Of Living Crisis

Energy efficiency has emerged at the top of renters wish lists as the most important factor when choosing a new home as renters continue to grapple with the cost of living crisis, according to a major report on the future of build-to-rent (BTR) and private rented sector property (PRS) in the UK.

Over 83% of renters in both BTR and PRS property reported that energy efficiency was important to them in their rental property with the availability of garden space and lounge/socialising space completing the renters top three wish-list.  Parking and pet friendliness ranked 4th and 5th respectively says the Love Where You Live research published today by national property specialists Centrick.

Love Where You Live takes an in-depth look at Britain’s booming build-to-rent (BTR) market, the factors driving its growth, and why some renters and investors are turning their backs on the traditional private rented sector in favour of high quality, purpose-built BTR developments. Unlike traditional apartment buildings BTR properties focus on creating engaged, fully rounded communities with amenities and features like screening rooms, private dining facilities, hosting kitchens, residents’ lounges and bookable services built in. According to the report, the combination of energy performance and community features is working, with just 1 in 10 current BTR residents considering going back to the private rented sector. 

Regional Renters Wish List 

The joint report focuses on six cities – London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield and Southampton – where BTR is increasing rapidly in popularity with a wide demographic of residents opting to rent instead of buy.  The research suggests that renters have significant and varied preferences, with generational and locational trends emerging strongly. Renters show a significant propensity for choice and movement, with over 50% of renters planning to move from their current property within the next 12 months. 

Key findings include: 

Manchester – Most likely to value pet friendliness.

Sheffield – 40% of renters willing to pay more for parking.

Birmingham – 87% of renters satisfied or very satisfied with current amenities. 

London – 88% of renters get on well or very well with the neighbours.

Liverpool – 36% of renters willing to pay more for EV charging facilities. 

Southampton – 29% residents planning to stay put for 18+ months. 

Understanding the variety of factors influencing BTR demand is essential for stakeholders in all walks of the property industry. This ground-breaking research brings together opinions and preferences from 600 BTR and PRS residents to unveil the preferences, trends and demographic viewpoints impacting the market.

Centrick founder James Ackrill said:

“In recent years, the residential real estate landscape has witnessed the transformative trend known as Build to Rent housing. This innovative approach to housing investment, construction and management has swiftly emerged as a dynamic and relevant force in the housing market. 

“Our objective is to dig into real world trends from real renters and explore the path forward for both those who seek to invest in BTR developments and those who aspire to call them home. This study is driven by the recognition that BTR is more than a mere housing solution; it is a concept that, when well-executed, can redefine the way we relate to the places we live. It carries the potential to create not just spaces, but communities where people feel a genuine connection to their surroundings, fostering a sense of belonging and happiness in their daily lives.”

What’s got renters reaching for extra budget?

The study also asked which amenities and features residents would be willing to pay a higher rent for. Parking ranked most highly with 38.69% of responders citing this as the singular feature they would be willing to pay more for. Garden space and energy efficiency also featured highly at 37% and 36% respectively, echoing what respondents cited as their most important features. Gym and fitness facilities and EV charging are cited at positions four and five respectively.

With over 80% of residents surveyed responding that energy efficiency was important or very important, it is obvious that this is the key feature for the majority of renters across both BTR and PRS when considering their next move.  In fact, a mere 5.59% of responders stated that energy efficiency was “not important at all”, a testament to the importance of energy costs and sustainability to all residents.

The study also looks in detail at levels of rental satisfaction using Net Promoter Score (NPS) to measure how renters feel about their current property. Across the regions Londoners came out as most likely to recommend their property to a friend. As the economic climate continues to show signs of instability and fluctuation, investors, and developers of both PRS and BTR developments should take note of the levels of Net Promoter Scores (NPS) and satisfaction as the report shows clear correlations between satisfaction levels and overall community engagement.

Renters feel the value of new and now

In understanding the motivations and perceptions of rental residents, value plays a key factor. Two thirds of renters in the study suggested that they feel their current rental property represented “good value” for money. This average across both BTR and PRS does not reflect growing disparity between the variety and varying quality of aged PRS stock and typically newer build BTR developments. Residents clearly perceive this difference, with 75% of BTR residents and only 53% of PRS tenants believing their property is good value for money. 

“It’s clear that renters in 2024, more than ever, will be exercising their ability to choose with over 52% of the audience planning to move within the next 12 months, leaving developers and funds faced with the same resident retention challenges in an increasingly competitive market. 

“As BTR evolves in the UK it’s clearly more important than ever to look beyond the facade of pure amenities to create genuine value across the key denominators, prioritising regional and local preferences alongside shifting generational trends.”

Centrick founder James Ackrill added:

“Love Where You Live is more than a research paper; it’s a testament to the transformative power of home, and a celebration of the boundless potential of Build to Rent housing in redefining the way we live, love, and create our lives in the future.”

Birmingham-based Centrick, which also has offices in London, Manchester, Sheffield, Gerrards Cross and Fareham has grown consistently since its inception by successfully prioritising innovation, expertise, and building trusted relationships with its clients to deliver high quality service and results. First opening its doors in 2005, the agency now has over 23,500 properties across the UK on its books and manages over £3.5 billion in client assets. 

About Centrick

Centrick’s vision is simple, “To make customers’ lives better everyday, the Centrick way” and for almost 20 years Centrick has nurtured, driven and grown its team by delivering industry leading service. Centrick prides itself on being a company of knowledgeable industry experts with a trusted, joined-up approach to all aspects of residential property. Innovation is at the heart of everything it does, helping it to adapt to the ever-changing market. This is all underpinned with a strong ethical code of trust and family values, where the team works as one to deliver exceptional service. National residential property experts, Centrick is forward-thinking and agile; always looking for new ways to work flexibly to meet the needs of its clients, using its strength and depth, across the property sector. By investing in talent, leading the way on industry practices, developing its technology and systems, it delivers an outstanding service to clients.Providing services across the UK, with offices in Birmingham, London, Manchester, Sheffield, Gerrards Cross and Fareham. Centrick’s services include:

– Build to Rent – BTR, Student & SFH

– Building & Estate Management

– PRS Portfolio Asset Management

– Valuation 

– Professional Services