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Changing role of private renting in Europe


New research published by LSE London suggests that economic pressures rather than government policies are changing the role of private renting across Europe.

Understanding the Role of Private Renting found that demand for private renting is growing due to the difficulties in buying a home in many places. Shifts in economic activity mean younger and more mobile people want to live in big cities and university towns, and the number of students (both national and international) in higher education has grown.

Additionally, there is some evidence that more young households are actively choosing to rent— some because of credit constraints and a growing feeling that home ownership is risky, others because renting privately offers them a better choice. 

Governments across Europe are seeking to increase institutional investment in the private rented sector through the use of tax reliefs, guarantees and other support.

However, even in Germany, where the regulatory system might be expected to favour such investment, the vast majority of landlords are individuals or small companies. In England despite the rapid growth in private renting in general, there is little existing stock that meets institutions’ requirements. It is only in the last few years that new purpose-built private rental sector schemes have been developed, mostly in London, the first such developments in the UK since the 1930s.

Understanding the Role of Private Renting: a Four Country  Case Study was undertaken by LSE London with the Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research and experts from Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands.

1 November 2016