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According to JLL’s 2020 forecast report Home is… for everything, our lives now revolve around our homes more than any other time over the past 250 years – a trend accelerated by COVID-19. Spending more time at home for both business and pleasure has driven a change in renter priorities, with a greater focus on aesthetics and amenities than ever before.
Despite spending more time at home, location is still a key priority for tenants, with 80% of people in the UK living in urban areas. Purpose-built luxury apartments are the modern city-centre home of choice for millions of tenants across the UK, making build-to-rent properties a lucrative investment opportunity.
This type of property has set a new benchmark for city-centre living as the developments are built with today’s renter in mind. In a generation where over one third of those born between 1980-1996 will now rent their entire lives, tenants are willing to pay a higher premium for their living experience. In-demand amenities include communal outdoor green space, fast and reliable Wi-Fi, larger living spaces, on-site facilities including a gym and fitness studios, a high-quality furniture pack and a pet-friendly policy.
Here are 6 tenant priorities to consider when making a buy-to-let investment:
Although COVID-19 accelerated the stay-at-home trend, the biggest enabler for staying at home in recent years is technology, allowing us to satisfy our food, leisure and entertainment needs at the click of a button. As ‘Gen-Z’ – the generation known as digital natives – enter the rental space, the demand for strong Wi-Fi is only expected to increase.
Remote-working technology has made it easier than ever to work from home at no detriment to business productivity, with a 2,900% increase of daily Zoom participants in 2020. As more businesses introduce long-term remote working policies, developments that can offer high-quality internet access and communal working space are in high demand, offering home workers a change of scenery.
Despite the rise in remote working, according to JLL it seems highly unlikely that the COVID pandemic will trigger a wide-scale de-urbanisation trend. Of the 50 top UK employers questioned by the BBC, some 43 said they would embrace a mix of home and office working, maintaining the need to stay within commutable distance from the workplace.
Prime investment locations include Manchester and Birmingham, the performance of both driven by undersupply. With recent figures showing that population growth in Manchester is increasing at twice the national rate, and an extra 50,000 people expected to be living in Birmingham by 2023, the rising demand isn’t expected to slow down any time soon.
Another trend emphasised by COVID-19; many city-centre renters are seeking access to outdoor space within their homes to support mental wellbeing. Data from over 700,000 users of the rental app, Movebubble, revealed that interest in terraces increased by 204% last year, highlighting the value of fresh air and a change of scenery. New developments are adapting to this demand where possible, providing communal garden terraces and green areas for residents to enjoy. Some city-centre skyscrapers also feature ventilation windows, giving residents access to fresh air in their apartments.
Shared health and leisure amenities such as a gymnasium, fitness studios and a swimming pool have also become a key priority for renters. A gym alone can add great value to your buy-to-rent property and is a non-negotiable factor for many city-centre renters. Most purpose-built luxury apartments are now built with a resident-only state-of-the-art gym.
Consistent with the rise of social media, young professionals (millennials and Gen-Z) are more concerned with aesthetics than previous generations. In a world where people share photos of every experience, from what they’re having for dinner, to what they’re wearing, style and aesthetic are key factors for renters. By investing in purpose-built luxury apartments with a reputable developer, investors can usually guarantee state-of-the-art architecture and modern interiors with high-quality furniture packs.
Despite almost half of UK households keeping a pet, a survey by SpareRoom found that 78% of renters had experienced difficulty finding a pet-friendly home. As city-centre dogs become more popular in the UK, pet-friendly homes are a key differentiator from competitors in the rental market. Whilst investors were previously put off allowing pets due to fears of property damage, tenants with pets must sign a policy, agreeing they are responsible for any damage or inconvenience.
Our Affinity Living brand has been specifically developed based on tenant demand and first-hand resident feedback, helping us provide an excellent living experience that encourages retention. All in prime city-centre locations, the premium residential apartments include state-of-the-art facilities, excellent building management and are pet friendly.
Our latest development, Affinity Living Birmingham is currently in the pre-launch phase and has received excellent interest so far. Don’t miss out on your next lucrative investment opportunity, delivering you strong yields and high capital growth.
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