Property developers are being urged to invest in building houses aimed at long-term tenants, as Britons begin to lose the desire to own their own home.
Sheffield property expert Mohammed Mahroof says a new generation is emerging who want to rent, rather than buy, the family home.
Demand for housing is increasing, fuelled by growth in the population and increasing life expectancy, while the number of homes being built in Britain and other parts of the world has declined in the face of the economic downturn, says Mahroof, a consultant with Norfolk Row-based Mark Jenkinson & Son.
While demand for housing is steadily rising, there have been few major social housing projects sponsored by local authorities or housing associations. Meanwhile, families have got smaller and people are choosing to live more independent lives, leading to a further increase in demand.
“People who would have moved into the owner-occupier or social housing sectors are now looking at the private rented sector as a real alternative for their accommodation needs. Clearly this has seen a major rise in demand but with a slower increase in supply,” says Mahroof.
“In this country there has been a strong preoccupation with owner-occupation through mortgage finance. As finance has become more difficult to obtain this has left many people with no alternative but to turn to the private rented sector.
“Many people have seen this as a blessing in disguise because they have become more footloose and are able to move for personal and work reasons more easily. In some cases people have rented property in locations where they would have found it difficult to buy and in return are living a better standard of life.”
According to Mahroof, opportunities are emerging for developers to build for renting.
“What I am talking about here is long term renting, where the property is not seen as a transitional move but somewhere people can lay down roots, as is the case in many parts of the world,” says Mahroof.
“I believe the private rented sector is the future of accommodation in this country. We are witnessing a change in tenure aspiration, which is a difficult concept to accept in a society which has a strong owner-occupation ethic.”