Demand for mid-length lets double in 3 years as renting habits shift

The demand for mid-length rentals – lets of between 1 and 6 months – has increased by over 20% in just 3 years according to data recorded by Houst, the UK’s leading flexible property management service…

The demand for mid-length rentals has risen by almost 20% in the past three years, according to data recorded by Houst, the UK’s leading flexible property management service.  In March 2018 bookings for mid-length stays, defined by Houst as stays of 1 to 6 months, accounted for just 13% of all bookings managed by the company. This figure shot up by 15% in the 12 months to March 2020, and rose by a further 5% by the end of March 2021.  

Overall, the booking data registered by Houst reveals a 20% uptick in just 3 years, equating to nearly a third of all bookings managed by Houst and reflecting a fast emerging trend for flexible, mid-length rental choices.   

Houst’s data suggests that millions are turning to shorter term contracts because of greater flexibility in payment terms and the option to relocate in significantly shorter timeframes. Houst says that its thriving mid-length bookings indicate a fast-evolving shift in lifestyle priorities and expectations for how customers want to live today.

Tom Jones, Co-Founder and Chief Commercial Officer of Houst, says. “Flexibility is a priority for consumers right across society. In our major cities, many people don’t want the hassle of owning a car anymore; they’ll just hop in a Zipcar when they want to drive. It’s the same with bicycle sharing schemes and music streaming – you can even rent other people’s dogs these days if you’re not ready to commit to owning. People only want to pay for something when they need it and are using it. We think it’s clear that this now applies to the housing rental market too – the conventional letting cycle of one, two and three year tenancies is just too rigid.”

Though the pandemic was not the trigger, it has accelerated the surge in mid-length lets. Working from home and more relaxed working behaviours has seen many steering away from the need to stay long-term in one property and location. Instead they appear to be choosing mid-length rentals as an easy, flexible and even exciting solution.  Additionally, ongoing economic uncertainty and concern over potential new variants means many are reluctant to commit to long contracts in case they are lumbered with an unaffordable – or unneeded – property. 

These changes pose questions for landlords and property businesses about how best to respond to evolving desires. 

Tom Jones adds: “Use a very rigid letting strategy – just short-lets or just long-term tenancies – and you risk being left behind. It’s clear that tenants want flexible options, and landlords need to be able to respond to that. Using a mix of short, mid and long term lets can increase both your earnings and tenant satisfaction”. We have observed the shift in our booking patterns in recent years and believe now is an incredibly exciting time that is giving rise to a thriving new market. There are some incredible opportunities for landlords to step up to meet burgeoning consumer expectations with flexible rental options that support the ways we want to live, work and play as we emerge from lockdown. With enormous appetite for flexible solutions, those that understand this are set to be driving the change of a transforming rental market.”

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