By David Rowark, Head of B2B Sales, Freesat
With television becoming ever more important to us all, it is time for property developers to factor it in from the foundations
Increasing house prices, falling wages and the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, have made the possibility of owning a home seem more remote than ever before. It is predicted that more people in Britain will be privately renting properties by the end of next year. Widely predicted, this has opened the door for savvy developers, who now have an opportunity to entice a new breed of renters looking for ‘all-inclusive’ homes.
A recent study from rental app Movebubble highlighted an increasing demand for ‘bills-included’ homes, with a rise of 28% of people beginning to look for properties with all utilities and essentials included. In fact, between March and July of this year, it saw a 101% increase in searches for homes where utilities such as electricity, gas and Wi-Fi were included in the monthly rent.
As technology and connectivity continue to play such a fundamental part in our lives, having all services and utilities readily available as soon as you move into a new home has become a key criterion for renters. It means they no longer need to spend hours deliberating over which deal is best or organising any installation. The complications and frustrations of choosing these utilities and essentials are removed. Plus, the bundling of all services into one singular rent fee helps consumers to budget more effectively.
The financial uncertainty of the past six months has placed even greater pressure on developers and property managers to pivot their rental packages from pure accommodation to an ‘all-inclusive’ package for renters. TV, whether that be linear or On Demand, has become an essential part of modern living, with Brits watching 22.5 hours of television on average a week, and 14.3 million of us having now subscribed to multiple streaming services. Just like with other essential services and utilities that have been included in rental packages of late, adding TV to an ‘all-inclusive’ service is likely to hit the spot with a new generation of renters.
It’s important to remember than many of these new renters are coming from the comfort of their parents’ homes where the multitude of utility and service bills are generally paid for by someone else. They may also be arriving in the market from the safety of student accommodation, where the majority of students have the convenience of at least one of their utilities being included in their rent according to recent research.
But it’s not just the immediacy of having everything set up on move-in day that renters are craving. In a world where technology is constantly evolving, ensuring homes are future-proofed is essential. Whilst smart TVs and set top boxes – that have the ability to record, pause and rewind – are a regular fixture in a lot of homes already, properties will only continue to get smarter. It is, therefore, important that developers mirror this trend to ensure their offering keeps up with consumer expectations.
There is clearly a demand for an ‘all-inclusive’ property offering for renters. However, there is still the possibility that property developers will get it wrong. Whilst it isn’t always necessarily about the cost, consumers are looking for convenience which then creates a premium that people are willing to pay, or stick around, for. It should be seen as an opportunity to garner loyalty among renters.
Developers, though, need to be wary of any costs from partners that may be faced by renters further down the line. By bundling a Free-to-Air TV service, which offers both live television and the ability to record it, combined with the option to access streaming platforms like BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, BritBox and Netflix, renters can have the best of both worlds without the financial worry of ongoing monthly costs, normally associated with a Pay-TV model.
With so much uncertainty, consumers are increasingly looking at ways to ensure some stability in their lives and developers are beginning to recognise the importance of having a rental package that offers further convenience. The notion of separate bills for every service within a household is starting to become a thing of the past, and with convenience being one of the most important factors for today’s buyers, now is the time to sow the seeds for the next rental revolution.