Published: November 3, 2020

Community-Focused Living To Increase in Demand After 2020

Written by Amber Furr
Overview

As new data reveals rates of loneliness being felt by people in the UK, will community-focused property development demand rise after life in lockdown?

  • More than one third of people in the UK state they have experienced feelings of loneliness during national lockdown, with 46% of those aged 18-34 feeling this the most
  • 17% of older people have also stated that, when considering future living plans, they want to be part of a strong community
  • Will the impact of 2020 increase the demand for residential developments that place as much emphasis on the community experience as they do on the design of the property?

Has there ever been a more important time to have good neighbours and to feel part of a strong community?

The national lockdown, and life under COVID-19 restrictions, has increased a sense of loneliness for many people in the UK.

Going forward, could this lead to an increased demand on build-to-rent residential property in the UK that places a big focus on community living?

As reported by PropertyWire, new research by retirement specialist Audley Villages has revealed levels of loneliness being felt by many Britons in 2020:

  • 35% of people in the UK say they have experienced an enhanced sense of loneliness during the nationwide lockdown in 2020
  • 18 to 34-year-olds are the highest share of the population to express feelings of loneliness (46%)
  • 46% of those surveyed worry about experiencing these feelings in the future
  • 47% of people in the UK who have not yet retired, and who state they’ve felt a sense of loneliness in 2020, are now reconsidering their later life accommodation plans
  • This includes 17% who say they now wish to ensure they are part of a strong community

The data highlights shared attitudes across all age groups. As people have been separated from friends and family, living in accommodation without a tight-knit neighbourhood and community close by will have naturally led many to feel a sense of isolation.

So, will this now re-shape the type of accommodation many tenants in the UK want to live in?

“The key to minimising feelings of isolation is to create a strong support network,” explained Paul Morgan, Managing Director of Operations at Audley Villages.

“Friends, family, and people that will check in, either virtually or in person, share hobbies or interests or join you for a walk can make a real difference both mentally and physically.

“We need to be creating housing options that support a sense of community as this is needed now more than ever. It has the potential to change the lives of people across the UK.”

In recent years, and despite the increased tenant and investor demand for build-to-rent residential property in the UK, there remains an undersupply of community-focused, experience-led accommodation across the country.

While many developers invest in the design and quality of living spaces, few invest in the wider communal aspects of a building.

By providing vibrant communal spaces and placing an emphasis on connecting with the wider neighbourhoods in which they are located, developments can begin to build a real sense of community.

At Affinity Living, Select Property Group’s premium residential brand, community is an integral part of the living experience for its tenants. From hosting events in communal areas, to working with local brands to create pop-up shops on the ground floor of the developments, Affinity Living creates shared experiences for all its residents, bringing people closer together.

For residents, neighbours become friends, creating stronger bonds between people living within Affinity Living developments. However, the benefit for property investors is that people are less likely to want to leave their property at the end of their tenancy, thus reducing void periods.

As the UK begins to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021 and beyond, the experiences of 2020 may well lead to a significant increase in demand from tenants for property that can deliver the greatest sense of community.

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