Manchester renters’ wish-list revealed as build-to-rent sector booms

Pet-friendly homes and garden space are top of the wish-list for Manchester renters, with energy efficiency also being a high priority as generation rent continues to grapple with the cost of living crisis, according to new research by property specialist Centrick. Centrick, which was established in 2005, specialises in Building & Estate Management, BTR Portfolio Management, PRS Portfolio Management and Professional Service & Valuation in addition to Land, New Homes and Investment services, has released new regional data today ahead of property and investment conference MIPIM.

Manchester‘s property rental market continues to boom as students look to stay in the city and young professionals choose the focal point of the Northern Powerhouse as a career base.

The Love Where You Live research 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, says the Love Where You Live research published by Centrick.

In the year June 2022-23, rental values in Manchester experienced a rise of over 19% driven by an increase in demand and growth in house prices, forcing would-be home buyers out of the market, says the report.

Garden space is identified as the feature most likely to attract a higher rental price in Manchester, followed by energy efficiency and parking respectively. Manchester renters also responded positively to private dining and meeting spaces, as well as to developments that welcome pets.

However, they are less likely to pay more for co-working spaces in their BTR developments, with only 18% of the survey stating that this would be a feature they are willing to pay more for.

The report says Manchester residents reported a mean rental bill of between £900 to £1,100 pcm, with 30% of respondents reporting that their rental expenditure sat between £700 and £800. This makes Manchester the cheapest of the regional locations examined.

However, satisfaction and perceived value for money within Manchester is the lowest of all regions surveyed. Only 54.08% of respondents answered ‘yes’ to the question “do you feel your rental property is fairly priced?”.

Benchmarking against a national average of 66.1%, this suggests that residents in Manchester are still seeking better from their homes. Manchester residents also report the lowest levels of satisfaction with the current amenities at their rental property and report a -24 Net Promoter Score (NPS). BTR residents in Manchester fare slightly better at -7, yet they still outrank the national combined average of -5.

82.76% of surveyed respondents in Manchester reported that they get on ‘well’ or ‘very well’ with their neighbours, which is reflective of the national average. However, the percentage of those citing that they get on ‘very well’ sits at 28%, considerably lower than their southern counterparts. For comparison, 40% of London respondents cited that they get on ‘very well with their neighbours, and 38% in Southampton. Only 58% described their rental community as ‘very engaged and active’ or ‘somewhat engaged and active’ compared with a national average of over 68% and a comparative response of 73% in neighbouring Liverpool.

Nationally, energy efficiency has emerged 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.

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:

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

Manchester – Most likely to value pet friendliness.

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

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.”

He 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.”

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. 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.