The Covid-19 pandemic created an unprecedented shift to working from home when many offices were forced to shut. This significantly impacted the rental market as tenants reassessed what they needed from their home property to support their new working style.
What changes did tenants want when working from home?
Working from home had an impact on how people looked at their homes, whether owned or rented, in three key areas:
• Space to work
• Outdoor space to enjoy
There was a need for working space for more than one family member for many. Extra space was needed by many to enable them to work from home. Workers desired an extra room to accommodate a home office, but even the ability to set up a specific work area or desk in an existing room made a big difference.
In addition to extra indoor space, people craved outdoor space. A garden, or even a balcony, became important to enable people to get outdoors when they weren’t allowed to leave home. Even after restrictions were lifted, being able to grab a break and some fresh air while spending a long day at a home desk is essential for physical and mental health.
Finally, where people were able to live also changed. They were no longer tied to cities or commuter suburbs to be able to get to the office, saving on travel time and expenses.
They could, and did, choose to live further afield as their homes became their workspaces, especially more flexible renters. This saw many people leaving city and town centres to find cheaper accommodation in the country or market towns where they could afford the extra indoor and outdoor space they desired.
What’s happening after lockdown?
Hopefully, we’ve seen the end of lockdown, and there’s an expectation that things will return to how they were pre-pandemic, including tenants’ expectations. But according to YouGov, 60% of British workers would still prefer to work remotely sometimes, so the need for space and desire to live in more remote locations could be here to stay.
However, there does seem to be some shift back to cities as offices begin to reopen. Last month, the BBC reported that some workers’ gradual return to the office and a winding down of covid restrictions led to increased demand in the urban rental market. In January, demand was up 76% compared to an average January in each of the previous four years.
This is encouraging news for landlords with properties in cities and larger towns. However, they still need to consider that working from home is likely to continue for many tenants and will still influence their choice of property.
Tenants’ rising lifestyle expectations.
We recently spoke about continued growth in the build to rent sector, and part of this boom is the focus on delivering facilities that support modern lifestyles. Popular properties have dedicated working areas, offer access to good broadband and amenities and maintain a high standard of living that accommodates the changing expectations of renters who consciously decide that renting is better for them than homeowning.
A complete return to the pre-pandemic world is unlikely, and landlords who can adapt and keep pace with the changing needs of tenants will continue to see a healthy demand for their properties.
No Letting Go
If you would like to discuss how our local support or national network at No Letting Go can become your inventory partner, ensuring that your property remains desirable to today’s tenants, contact No Letting Go today.
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