The 2015 tenant & landlord surveys are here – let`s see what tenants think about the Marylebone property market and how landlords can make their properties more investable!

Date Published 22 February 2016

I find myself constantly asked by potential Marylebone investors many specific questions such as the demographics of Marylebone, what tenants most look for with rental properties and also which nationalities & overseas investors are usually the most interested. I also get asked what do tenants desire from their properties and what should be included to maximise ‘letting' potential and I aim to answer as best as I can. But now thanks to a recent survey that was conducted by ‘Home Let' in October, we are in a much better position to answer these types of questions accurately; the survey received 1,882 responses from landlords and 14,782 replies from tenants. With such a high response rate from both tenants as well as landlords, we can give a fair, subjective and varied account of all types of property experiences, which will aid the Marylebone property market further, making business boom and the relationship between all parties even more agreeable.

Whilst looking at these results, I could see that the majority of private landlords who took part in the survey were of 60+ years of age (32%), closely followed by 31-40 at 25%, 51-60 at 23% and 41-50 which reached 18% - the remaining representation was made up of a minority of 2% for 26-30 year olds and a even less account of 1% for the 21-25 age bracket. This on average realistically portrays the landlord population and shows that landlords above the age of 30 are much more common and are most likely to be encountered. Comparing this with the tenant representation, 18-20 year olds were the least represented age group surveyed, with the majority of the tenants providing a response being of the 31-40 age bracket, with a slightly less proportion formed from ages 26-30 and 41-50. This shows us that both surveys arrive from a similar proportion of like-aged people, but landlords on average were typically elder than their prospective tenants.

Regarding rental specifics, the survey shows that only 29% of the surveyed populace rent through a private landlord, in comparison to a huge 71% currently renting through a letting agent; conversely more tenants (90%) were happy with the rental service of their private landlords, in comparison to 78% who were content with their letting agents. There is certainly a potential opportunity here private landlords, we want a much closer balance so take a few notes from this tenant feedback and maybe you can tilt the balance closer in your favour! A particularly interesting statistic is that 53% of the surveyed landlords expressed that they would consider renting to a tenant who had a pet, but a massive 47% said that they would never consider renting to a tenant who wished to also accommodate their pet. This is extremely alarming in my opinion, as the pet population currently stands at 65 million in the UK and is constantly growing, more and more people are adopting and taking in pets, and if landlords don't become more lenient towards the pet situation, their properties could be in short supply of tenants!

Another key point for potential landlords coming up... so when tenants were asked what are the most important factors in choosing a rental home, 58.5% (perhaps more obviously) stated that rental cost was a key consideration. However other key factors also included:

36.4% of tenants stated that - available, nearby parking spaces is of an extreme priority.

32.6% of tenants suggested that – the distance between their home and their workplace is very important.

31.6% of tenants said that – the attractiveness of the surrounding area is also a key consideration, when selecting a property to rent from.

26.2% of tenants wrote that – rental properties near public transport, such as frequent buses and train stations are a very desirable feature.

20.2% of tenants voiced an opinion that – the surrounding local amenities of a rental property is certainly significant.

17.4% of tenants expressed that – a rental property near local schooling establishments is really vital.

So when choosing a property to rent, what sort of advertising portal most appeals to potential tenants? Well out of the number of tenants we interviewed in this survey, we asked them: how did you locate the property that you are currently renting:

55% of tenants said that they located their rental property through Rightmove.

15% of tenants revealed that the advertising that most appealed to them was through a High street letting agent.

11% of tenants confirmed that Zoopla was there go-to place when deciding to rent their present home

3% of tenants divulged that they came across their residence with the aid of a ‘To Let' sign.

2% of tenants stated that it was through social media that they found their current property.

1% of tenants shared with us that they traced their now-called home after reading a newspaper.

We see here that landlords, according to these statistics, should be making Rightmove advertisements their number 1 priority when advertising their property ‘for let', as more than half of potential tenants on average use this site to locate their soon to be new homes. High street letting agents as well as the Zoopla site were also pretty effective domains to advertise from, but should be used as a secondary form of advertisement along with Rightmove, in my opinion. It should also be noted that the remaining 13% of tenants that have not yet been accounted for stated alternative methods for locating their properties. These included: Gumtree, Property Pal, SpareRoom, ‘Word of mouth' as well as hearing about rental properties through friends.

Now a little bit more about you potential landlords, as well as some information about how your fellow landlords are currently performing. The following question was posed towards these selected landlords: How many rental properties do you currently own?

55% of landlords stated that they only own 1 rental property.
36% of landlords disclosed that they own 2-3 rental properties.
6% of landlords said that they own 4-5 rental properties.
2% of landlords shared that they own 6-10 rental properties.
1% of landlords made known that they own 10 or more rental properties.

This shows us that many landlords (over half), only possess a sole rental property, which means acquiring the best price through advertising and choosing the initial property investment is a crucial matter. This has to be done through the best possible means in order to maximise income, so potential tenant lures are key, and finding out exactly what your potential tenants are looking for; the portals they use to find their rental homes also needs to be a top concern for landlords! In addition, out of this pool of selected landlords the research also revealed that only 13% of these landlords are fully private and manage their own properties; a massive majority of 87% of landlords use a letting agent to manage their properties for them to varying degrees. This is because letting agents have the advertising means to attract more potential clients as well as the relevant expertise in order to sanction potential deals – more and more landlords are deciding to rent through letting agents and perhaps the 13% of private landlords could increase their profits even further, should this portal be explored.

So over the past year what sort of tenants have Marylebone properties attracted? Well there were twelve main nationalities that bought residential properties in Marylebone over the past year: Half of which were domestic buyers in the United Kingdom, followed by (in order of most active) the United Arab Emirates, Russia, Cyprus, France, Greece, Israel, Kuwait, Malaysia, Pakistan and South Africa. These nationalities of potential buyers are the most active in the Marylebone market and should be targeted most directly in order to maximise rental profits. In addition, we also found out that 15% of the population in Marylebone are children, which is slightly lower than the average in London. Although Marylebone is a fairly popular area for families, it is more popular with working-age people - such as graduates and young professionals, who make up 74% of the population.

Should you require any more specific information about this article, or would like some more advice on the Marylebone property market, please feel free to contact me at your own convenience.