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The rise of middle-aged renters

A growing number of private renters are now older than 40, a fundamental shift over the past decade that reflects the surge in house prices and an aging population, new research shows.

A report released this morning by Your Move, one of the UK’s largest letting agents, overturns the assumption that the sharp rise in the number of people renting is being solely fuelled by younger renters, with Generation Rent no longer the preserve of the young as more 40-plus year olds either choose or have little alternative but to rent.

According to the study, which was conducted by Your Move’s sister company LSL Corporate Client Department Ltd, to provide insights into the 4.5 million privately rented households in the UK - a number which is expected to grow to 6 million over the next few years - 40% of renters are aged over 46.


The research found that 18% of renters were over the age of 55, with another 22% of tenants belonging to the 46-55 age group, while just 39% of those in private rental accommodation were under 35. 

Valerie Bannister, head of letting at Your Move, commented: “These results show very clearly that renting is becoming extremely important across the UK. The rise of the Silver Renter may seem surprising, but increasingly thousands of people have turned to the Private Rental Sector as the most convenient option available to them, following a change in personal circumstance. Now more than ever, it is important that this sector offers good quality, well managed properties that allow tenants to feel at home in them.” 

Of those surveyed, 25% of 18 – 25 year olds claimed they were satisfied with renting, with 80% wanting to own their own home in the future. These numbers reversed for those aged 55 and above, with 46% stating they were happy with renting and only 19% saying they would like to own their own home in the future.

Across all age groups, 81% of tenants said that renting suited their lifestyle – whether that lifestyle choice was on a permanent basis, or just for a few years.

Bannister continued: “Many of the younger tenants in our survey have aspirations to own their own home in the future. However, the endemic lack of affordable housing to buy across the UK, coupled with a low savings-rate environment, is making it increasingly difficult for want-to-be homeowners to buy their first home.

“The Private Rental Sector needs to answer this issue by becoming a first choice tenure, and not just the second best option. If the flexibility of renting can be combined with the stability and reassurance of longer residencies, and fewer restrictions around making the space ‘feel like home’, for many, renting would be considered a better long-term, as well as short-term, option.”

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