What is the fastest growing sector of the private rental market? Under 30s? No. 30 to 40 year-olds? Again, no. By far the most rapidly growing demographic is the over 55s.
Recent research from Paragon Bank has shown that the number of households in the 55 to 64 year-old category living in privately rented accommodation has risen by 118% over the last decade. Renters over 65 grew by 93%. Both are double the rate of increase in the next highest demographic - 35 to 44 years olds.
For many, renting is a choice, with 20% not wanting the responsibility of maintaining a property and a further 25% not wanting a mortgage.
There are a number of factors that may have contributed to the increase in over 55s in the PRS over the past 10 years, such as rising divorce amongst older people, poorer pension returns and factors such as men living longer.
The number of households in England is expected to grow by more than 1.5 million by 2028 and 3.1 million by 2038. It will be people in the 55 plus age bracket driving that growth.
People aged over 55 now represent 16% of privately rented households and this has steadily grown since the turn of the decade when 11% of the sector was made up of over-55s.
Landlords are already responding to this demographic shift. Paragon's report goes on to say that 21% of owners are expecting to rent to older tenants in the future and 20% anticipate renting to retirees. Many see the benefits of letting to older tenants, including perceived strong income reliability, longer rental periods and lower voids.
It is not just coastal and rural areas seeing this increase. Town and cities are also seeing older residents, attracted by the city lifestyle and convenience, though perhaps at a gentler pace than their generation rent counterparts.
Rowntree concudes -
Landlords are already reacting to the changing demographics of the PRS and, with older tenants becoming more commonplace, will have to increasingly do so. Landlords will need to consider longer tenancy agreements, the location of their property and any adjustments the property may need for later life tenants.