Young Londoners would choose to live centrally in “micro-flats”

More than half of young renters would choose to live nearer to work in smaller homes, according to the largest survey of tenants conducted by Knight Frank.

More than half (54%) of 18 to 24 year olds said they would be happy to live in a studio flat (with communal entertaining space) if doing so made the rent more affordable in a central area. Some 39% of 25-34 year olds and 42% of 35-44 year olds in London would also be prepared to choose a studio in a central location for an affordable rent.

When asked if they would live in a “microflat”, a small studio flat around 300 sq ft in size, in a building with communal entertaining space which was in a “perfect” location, 45% of 18-24 year olds in London indicated that they would consider such an option, while 32% of 25-34 year olds and 37% of 35-44 year olds also agreed. This is much higher than the overall GB average of 27%.

More than half (56%) of 18 to 24 year olds cited that renting suited their lifestyle needs. Nearly a third (30%) of 25-34 year olds in London feel the same and 27% of 35-44 year olds.

Grainne Gilmore, the Head of UK Residential Research at Knight Frank, said:

“In terms of location vs affordability, a significantly higher proportion of Londoners, especially younger tenants, are prepared to live in smaller types of accommodation to ensure they are in a good location at an affordable price. The private rented sector is growing in London and across the UK. While this is undoubtedly linked to trends in house prices, the sector is also expanding amid a demand for a more flexible workforce in key urban areas.”

London has seen the biggest growth in the private rented sector of any region in the UK over the last decade. According to Knight Frank’s research, this market has been fuelled by a preference from workers in the City for more flexible living arrangements rather than the dynamics of affordability in the London housing market alone.

This idea is also underlined by the reasons that people move into private rented accommodation. While 48% of Londoners aged between 45 and 54 say that being in the private rented sector is largely because of difficulty raising a deposit to purchase a home, younger tenants say that the choice of tenure suits their lifestyle.

When it comes to the maximum Londoners are prepared to pay in rent, the figure is slightly higher than the country-wide average. The mean average of Knight Frank’s tenant survey responses for those in the Capital shows that the maximum respondents were prepared to pay was 42% of their gross monthly personal income, compared to 40% across Britain.

Grainne Gilmore explained:

“It is notable that a higher proportion of Londoners are planning to stay in the private rental sector for between one and two years than in the rest of the country. But to assume this shows that the PRS is solely a short-term solution for Londoners is contradicted by the rest of the findings, which show that more than a third of renters surveyed (36%) in London expect to stay in the rented sector for between a further two and 15 years”

A fifth of 35-44 year Londoners living in the private rented sector do not expect to ever own a home, according to the largest survey of tenants carried out by Knight Frank. Overall, some 18% of London tenants say they will always remain in the private rented sector, while a further third expect to stay in the sector for between three and ten years.

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