Expert Advice with Leanne Jopson
If there’s one thing we love, it’s making predictions about the future of property and real estate.
Lately, we’ve been crystal-balling over the future of tenancy.
After all, these are the people who will be paying off our mortgages for us – so it’s important to know what trends and shifts we need to be aware of.
Specifically, what will the tenants of tomorrow be like when it comes to renting homes and their behaviours?
We’ve done some research, and we think the tenants of tomorrow will be...
1. Extremely houseproud
You don’t have to be a homeowner to be house proud.
Tenants want to feel that they’re living in a house that is worth their time, love and attention.
Landlords and property managers can ensure their tenants feel this way by making the tenants feel valued and appreciated, and being careful to respond swiftly to maintenance and repair requests.
2. Long-term renters
Across Australia, but in Sydney in particular, we are becoming a nation of renters, much like New York.
Data published in Domain in 2016 shows that even back then, renters were growing in numbers, with more people renting and for longer periods of time – even up to 10 years.
Stats at the time showed that while 31 percent of Australians owned their own home outright, 30.9 percent were renting.
Taking a longer-term view, data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics reveals that home ownership rates have fallen from 70 per cent of households in 1998, to just 66 per cent in 2018.
Reasons for this move away from home ownership into long-term renting include the ability to afford a more desirable location as a tenant.
Often when we’re looking to buy, we can’t always afford to purchase in our most desired areas, which pushes people to the outer suburbs, where it’s generally cheaper.
Renting means that you’re able to choose your most-loved locations and live there instead, paying less in rent than you would in loan repayments.
Many Australians are also embracing the idea of rentvesting: you purchase an investment property in an area that is primed for growth, while renting in an area that is better suited to your lifestyle.
3. Changing with the times
The times are changing – and this might surprise some, but the fastest growing demographic of renters in Australia is the over-55 single female.
According to data collected from the 2016 Census, there were 2 million people who were living alone on the night the census was conducted, and of those, 55 percent of them were female.
Further data shows that women tend to live alone for longer period of time than men, upwards of nine years in many cases.
This particular demographic often makes for sought-after tenants, given that they’re more likely to be desirable renters with a steady history of employment and either renting or home ownership.
Such tenants desire privacy, comfort and a connection to family, friends and community, as well as space for social engagements.
4. Often working from home
The gig economy has encouraged many people to chase their dreams instead of working a standard 9-5 job.
This, coupled with the fact that companies are realising the benefits of allowing their employees to have a better work/life balance through telecommuting, has led to a rise in people working from home.
As such, tenants are after properties to rent that come with everything they need to work from home: high speed internet access and spaces that are conducive to a productive workflow, such as a study nook or spare room.
The property itself also needs to be within a reasonable distance from their workplace, if and when they do need to head into the office.
This means they’re aiming for properties that don’t require travelling through tolls or that chew through a massive amount of petrol or train tickets just to get to work.
5. Have high expectations
Tenants increasingly have high expectations of their rental home.
There are a number of non-negotiables, depending on the location and demographic, such as high internet speeds, as well as easy access to amenities like shopping centres, public transport, parks, childcare centres and schools.
Tenants essentially want to minimise the minutes and hours they spend doing certain things, like travel time, waiting time, driving time, and they want everything faster – right now.
This isn’t a bad thing – it’s just a sign of the times alongside the fast-paced, digital world we live in.
Society as a whole is now considering their ecological impact in terms of energy and water efficiency.
The tenants of tomorrow are often wanting their homes to be aligned with such values in the form of energy-smart homes.
Home owners and investors can look at these predictions as indicators for what they should and shouldn’t look for when shopping for or renovating an existing investment property.
By catering to what the tenants of tomorrow will want today, you’ll likely be able to ensure a comfortable, secure tenancy in your property for years to come.
Leanne Jopson is National Director of Property Management at Metropole, and has 20 years’ experience in real estate.
Leanne brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to maximise returns and minimise stress for her clients.