What we can learn from renting around the world

Will Leyland, 07 January 2022

It’s easy to forget sometimes that we can often look at renting, and the rental market, from a uniquely British perspective.

Admittedly, that perspective is changing all the time and it’s absolutely true that as younger generations start to make up the majority of renters, it’s changing even further.

Even a few decades ago it would be fair to say that renting wasn’t looked on favourably, and many saw it as a stepping stone towards home ownership, with owning your own house always the ultimate goal.

The British obsession with home ownership has often been analysed and commented on and, whilst it’s not unique, it’s certainly the often overwhelming opinion across media and older generations.

As we see attitudes changing quicker and quicker now that most people under 40 rent, is it about time we take a look at other attitudes towards renting across the world?

Renting around the world

ABC news in Australia recently ran a piece on renting attitudes around the world and how it’s perceived in places across Europe and elsewhere, and the results were illuminating.

Speaking to a young millennial in Berlin, her attitude was striking. Gloria Biberger, a young renter in the city, told ABC ‘despite being a tenant, she says, “it feels like my home”.

“I know that I could stay here forever,” the 37-year-old said.

Typically, tenants in Germany have freedom of decoration, with older and cheaper apartments even requiring you to bring your own light fixtures and kitchen sink.

“I want to feel very comfortable in my own home,” Ms Biberger said.

“That’s why it’s important that I can furnish and decorate it myself; I really want to feel like it’s my own thing.”

It shows a striking difference in approach to renting in Britain where it’s often seen as temporary or undesirable in comparison to owning, despite a number of benefits such as freedom to move, lack of maintenance expense and cheaper running costs.

Similar attitudes are held across western Europe in Portugal, Spain and Italy where younger people are very much expected to rent, often into later adulthood.

This has a secondary benefit of keeping supply freer in the market and avoiding the kind of bottleneck price increases we see in the UK due to a huge imbalance of demand and supply.

Perhaps if, in Britain, we were able to take a more holistic view towards renting as our friends in Europe and abroad do, we’d be able to tackle the housing crisis a little better.

Certainly, as the new year approaches - a famously busy time for moving - it’s likely we’ll see more people than ever looking to rent moving forward. If you’re looking for advice or direction why not get in touch with us today?


Will Leyland, 07 January 2022