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Makeup of 'generation rent' revealed – and it’s not just millennials

The term 'generation rent' now covers a much wider demographic, according to new research.

The Urban Being - The Future of City Living report, published by law and tax advice firm CMS, shows that it's not just millennials and students renting property, but workers of all ages, including retired people.

It says this is because saving for a deposit has 'become more difficult than ever' while there is also increased 'intergenerational wealth inequality'.


The study spoke to 6,500 people living and working in London, Manchester, Glasgow, Berlin, Amsterdam and Paris, as well as over 200 property professionals.

Some 56% of those taking part agreed that owning a property is becoming less popular, with 69% suggesting that their government should encourage more homes being made available for rent.

Almost two thirds (61%) of respondents said they would consider renting when they retire with 53% of over-55s in agreement.

People were also asked about their motivations for moving home. The number one reason was needing more living space. However, more baby boomers said they would move because they need less space.

Another popular reason for seeking a move included better local amenities.

Respondents were also asked what features they'd like to see in their next home - super-fast internet was the most popular, followed by smart meters and electric vehicle charging points. Of the generational groups, millennials were most keen to keep pets in rented accommodation.

"Urbanisation, new lifestyles, different work patterns and increasing mobility are changing Europe's cities," says Ciaran Carvalho, head of real estate at CMS UK.

"We are going to see unprecedented levels of interest and investment in all forms of rented accommodation in Europe’s leading cities. This will reshape local housing markets from an economic and political standpoint, but more importantly will better reflect how people of all ages want to live, work and play in our cities in the future."

"The acceptance by the baby boomer generation that renting is an option in later life is perhaps a reflection of the changing perception and nature of later living accommodation compared to 20 years ago," Carvalho adds.

He suggests that it has become more acceptable to retire to purpose-built retirement communities as the quality of these developments has improved significantly. He points out, however, that only one in 200 over-65s in the UK live in bespoke later living homes, compared to one in 20 in both the US and Australia.


Rick de Blaby, chairman at Build to Rent operator Get Living, adds: "We have seen the emergence of a ‘subscription society’ where people prefer to rent rather than own, from cars to music and now to homes and furniture."

"While millennials are seen to be the generation driving this forward, we are already seeing a trend in older generations choosing to free themselves of home ownership for a more flexible lifestyle."

"People are placing more value on experiences rather than things and so customer service will become even more important for the rental sector."


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