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Surge in over-50s renting property

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The number of tenants in private rented accommodation who are aged 50 and over is growing.

According to Countrywide, the number of over-50s renting jumped by 6% in the second quarter of 2013 across the whole of the UK compared to Q2 2012.

Most regions saw an increase in older tenants, with the East Midlands, Wales and London experiencing the largest hikes.

Commenting on the Index, Nick Dunning, group commercial director at Countrywide, said:

“Renting a property was previously a choice for the younger generation as they saved for a few years to get on the housing ladder. However, there is currently a demographic change in the UK rental market with people renting for longer and in some cases for life. Reasons vary and for some it is because they cannot afford to save a deposit to buy their own home but others choose to rent and enjoy the flexibility it gives them especially in terms of job mobility.

“Tenants aged 41 and over now equate to nearly a third (29%) of all of those renting a property through Countrywide in England, Scotland and Wales and this figure is likely to rise in the future.”

At the other end of the scale, there was a 7% drop in the number of under-25s renting in the second quarter compared to Q2 2012. The biggest drop was in Wales, followed by the South West and East of England.

Countrywide attributes the decrease to youngsters moving back home after university, possibly in order to help them save a deposit to buy their own property.

The index also found that the average length of tenancy grew slightly in the second quarter to 19 months for the whole UK. However this figure masks large regional discrepancies, with the average tenancy in Central London lasting for 22 months, while in Wales the figure is 14 months.

Meanwhile, average rents increased by 1.1% year-on-year and rental yields remained strong, led by Wales (6.6%), the Midlands (6.5%) and the North (6.4%).

Dunning added: “Renting is a flexible and relatively hassle-free way of living which suits many people’s lifestyles. It allows them to settle in a location where perhaps they couldn’t afford to buy but they enjoy living in. However, with a growing population of lifetime renters and more 18-25 years olds having to live with their parents for longer because they cannot afford to rent or buy, increasing the amount of good quality, affordable rental accommodation is needed to meet this demand.

“With banks making it easier for landlords to offer longer tenancies, more competitive buy-to-let mortgage products available and demand for rental accommodation outstripping supply, now is an ideal time for landlords to expand their portfolios and provide a more diverse range of affordable rental properties. ”

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