The ‘changing face’ of renting in London

By Bea Patel, TLE Property Editor and Director of Shop for an Agent

The ‘once upon a time’ dream of growing up, buying a home and then raising a family seems a tradition of the past. Increasing research shows how modern lifetime milestone experiences and expectations are dramatically different to those of a generation ago.

The ‘changing face’ of lifetime milestones in the UK and the growing number of Londoners who are celebrating key events in their lifetimes in rental properties are due to financial and social influences.

Research conducted by Weroom reveals 27 per cent of renters in the capital now expect to, or have become a parent while renting. This is due to housing shortages in the UK, rising cost of living and social change. 19 per cent have their first child while renting, eight per cent live with children in their house or flatshare, of which half are aged 0-3 years old.

Guido Maschhaupt, a student living in a London flatshare, says: “I live with a married couple and their 7-month old baby, as well as two other people. I flatshare because it is cheaper – it is almost impossible to finance an entire flat in London. I deliberately chose not to live with other students as my course is very demanding, but I don’t experience many negatives living with a baby – but house parties are pretty much out of the question!”

In London, renters experience key lifetime milestones in their house and flatshares, with 34 per cent moving in with their partners for the first time, 21 per cent getting married, and 6 per cent getting divorced while living with housemates.

Where a couple would conventionally marry and then move into a purchased home to raise a family, 33 per cent of London’s renters now rent in order to save up for their next steps: marriage, children and their own property. However, ten per cent of London renters consider flatsharing to be a long-term property solution.

Tom, 27, and Mel, 25, have been together for three and a half year and live together in a flatshare in London. They said: “We would like to live on our own but it’s just not affordable for us at the moment, buying even less so. In the long term, when our financial situation allows, we will hopefully be able to rent an apartment for ourselves, but for now we will stay in our flatshare.”

Thomas Villeneuve, ceo of Weroom, commented: ”As property prices continue to rise in London, flatsharing is an increasingly common housing option for modern Londoners of all ages. Gone are the days when young couples married and moved into their lifetime home to begin a family. Nowadays, key lifetime milestones, such as marriage and having children, are being celebrated in rented accommodation with flatmates. Likewise, older London renters are turning to flatshares in later life and during retirement – something which would have been unheard of a generation ago.’

“The Autumn Statement turned attention to the housing situation in London and it is clear that more needs to be done to protect renters who will not be able to afford to buy, and therefore see flatsharing as a long term property solution.”

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