Almost half of tenants living in private rental accommodation across the UK are aged over 46, signalling the rise of the ‘silver renter’. The finding comes from research by Your Move which involved 36,500 participants and was commissioned to provide insights into the 4.5m privately rented households in the UK – a number which is expected to grow to 6m over the next few years.
The research found that 18% of renters were over 55, with another 22% of tenants belonging to the 46-55 age group. Surprisingly, only 39% of those in private rental accommodation were under 35.
Of those surveyed, 25% of 18 to 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 almost half (46%) stating they were happy with renting and only 19% saying they would like to own a house 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.
Valerie Bannister, head of lettings at Your Move, said: “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.
“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 home owners 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.”