London agency Benham & Reeves Residential Lettings has surveyed its tenants and, based on 1,400 responses - a third of the total - discovered that they are not the frustrated ‘can’t afford to buy’ group that some suggest typify the rental sector.
Reflecting London's diverse workforce, over 17.5 of the respondents were expats living and working in the capital. Few of these tenants intended to buy in London, presumably because they planned to eventually move back to their country of origin or another posting abroad.
Only a small percentage said they did not meet the criteria for a mortgage (3.66 per cent) or did not have a mortgage deposit (5.76 per cent) while 17.8 per cent of respondents were actively saving for a deposit.
BRRL says over half of the respondents could be classified as lifestyle tenants.
Some 23.82 per cent replied that they chose to rent because it suited their lifestyle or they didn't want a mortgage while nearly a third said they chose to rent because it allowed them to live in an area nicer than the one in which they could afford to buy.
Another third of respondents stated that they were only prepared to commit 20 to 30 per cent of their monthly income towards housing while around 12 per cent said they would only commit a maximum of 20 per cent of their income towards housing costs.
“I think that in labelling Millennials as Generation Rent, the older generations are prescribing their own values onto the younger one. Whereas Baby Boomers or Generation X craved the stability and financial security of home ownership, today's young professionals see things differently” explains Benham & Reeves Lettings Director Marc von Grundherr.
“Many dream of living and working abroad and don't want the burden of a home. Others would rather have extra spending power rather than sacrifice for a deposit. What is very clear from this survey is that a significant number of tenants are in rented accommodation not because they can't afford to buy, but because they are choosing to rent.”