As with age, the nationality profile of renters in 2020 was entirely consistent with previous years. Europeans made up the largest proportion (36%) by a small margin over British (32%) and that mirrors the five year average. As in the sales market, we particularly noted activity from French citizens.
No other overseas region supplies close to the number of renters in our markets as the European mainland in any year but the Far East also maintained its share at around 13% – perhaps surprising given the potential impact of the pandemic on overseas students.
The age profile of those who signed a new lease in our markets in 2020 was in line with the five year average. Two thirds fall into the age category between 25 and 40 but, as always a quarter were under 25, reflecting the key role of students and young early career professionals in our markets. Unsurprisingly, the structure of renters is quite different from buyers where 55% are over 40, compared to just 12% of renters. Of course these two statistics are interrelated.
The population of renters in our markets is surprisingly consistent across all our measures – in contrast to the sales market which is far more subject to fluctuations from year to year. The volume of transactions in any one year is much higher for rentals than sales and perhaps that helps to smooth the distributions.
The only significant shift in the profiles of renters in 2020 was in household type. There was an increase in singles and a fall in the proportion of couples. Sharers remained at the same level as did families – who are always small players in our markets.