housing futures Research urban renters

Housing Futures: Urban Renters

Q1 2017

We have identified at a minimum at least ten unique rental tribes (that’s groups of people) that we believe are likely to seek similar property specs but have significantly different motivations or reasons for living in rental accommodation

In order to deliver the best housing solutions for urban renters in the UK, we believe it is fundamental to understand that we are no longer talking just about Generation Rent, we are now talking about Every Generation Rent.

In fact, we have identified at a minimum at least ten unique rental tribes (that’s groups of people) that we believe are likely to seek similar property specs but have significantly different motivations or reasons for living in rental accommodation. And rather than try to give you a crash course in all ten in one go, I thought it would be best to cover them in small chunks. This way I can elaborate more on each tribe and explain what makes them tick.


The Globalista is our first tribe. They are the global, transient and in-demand group that are part of the world’s high-net-worth club. It includes everyone from the business elite, to celebrities, athletes and socialites. The reality is that they may only live in the UK for short periods of time (which could mean anything from 6 months to 5 years), but prefer the flexibility of renting rather than the responsibility of ownership or the lack of privacy in hotels. The Globalista is likely to seek established locations such as Knightsbridge and Chelsea, and may pay rental in excess of £18,000 per week.


Our second tribe, the Urban Fox, prioritise location over all else, eschewing space and comfort to attain it. The group is diverse and their drivers disparate. For some, renting is all about lifestyle, offering the ability to be close to work, friends and the best experiences a city can offer. They may be part of the ‘gigging economy’ – highly skilled individuals, employed in multiple jobs and wanting a location that allows them to move between their portfolio of contracts. Alternatively, they may be shift workers, such as those that are employed by the NHS, or in other words those who need proximity to work due to unsocial hours. Not all work shifts, but for those who do, a well-located space is a must.


The oyster catcher is our third tribe for this instalment. This segment of renters find that it is worth paying a premium for the convenience and enjoyment of living in a city, especially when it comes to London. Using an Oyster travelcard gives easy access to work and leisure, outweighing the cheaper costs associated with living outside of the capital and commuting to work. However, the difference in price between being a commuter or a London resident is not as marked as many think. We compared the cost of a season ticket, plus the average rent for a one-bedroom flat in 10 popular commuter locations, with rental and travel costs to Zone 1 for London’s 10 cheapest boroughs and found that the monthly difference was £243.


We believe that all of these tribes have great potential to influence both the rental market and the build to rent (BTR) product that will be delivered to the housing market in the next decade.