Cushman & Wakefield has analysed the findings of a survey carried out by SW Research on a representative sample of the inhabitants of the largest Polish cities. The amount of rent and the standard of accommodation is key to home renters.
The survey questionnaire was prepared on the basis of issues raised by residential market experts of Cushman & Wakefield and the survey was carried out using the CAWI method (Computer-Assisted Web Interview) on the users of the online SW Panel between 19-24 March 2021 and 9-20 April 2021. The sample included 3,078 Polish citizens aged 18+ in six cities (Warsaw, Krakow, Poznań, Łódź, Tricity, and Wrocław). Detailed questions were asked to 1,031 respondents who were renting or planning to rent a home; the demographic profile of the sample is in line with that of renters in large cities.
What’s next for the home rental market?
The home rental market is currently tenant-friendly. Rents have fallen almost across the board and there are real bargains to be found in adverts.
“The rental market is undergoing a revolution. During the first lockdown in March 2020, hundreds of apartments previously used as short-lets came onto the market, which led to increased competition and drove average rents down. A large proportion of such apartments feature a high hotel-like standard,” says Karolina Furmańska, Senior Residential Analyst, Consulting & Research and Capital Markets, Cushman & Wakefield.
In addition, there is a growing supply of rental apartments marketed by institutional investors in the Private Rental Sector (PRS). This sector continues to grow across Poland. Such units boast a high fit-out standard and most are leased at market rental levels. Consequently, rental apartments with an outdated fit-out are falling out of favour.
Key selling points in a listing, or how to attract tenants
Having a terrace, a garden or a balcony and proximity to parks, forests and other green areas are cited by tenants as the two must-haves they look for, followed by fibre optic internet connectivity, larger dwelling size and an additional workroom or study.
“Amid a tough labour market and liquidity issues in many sectors, it has become important to tenants to be able to renegotiate rental rates and payment dates whilst securing a flexible lease and a right to terminate it. The pandemic and the need to spend most of the time at home have highlighted the special importance of the standard of accommodation – in addition to its size. However, access to a gym or a swimming pool in a building was not a priority for tenants. Air-conditioning has become particularly important during the pandemic to just under 10 percent of the respondents,” adds Karolina Furmańska.
The standard of sought-after accommodation
More than 80 percent of tenants would like to move into a fully or partially furnished home, preferably with a separate kitchen (50 percent of the respondents) – contrary to the open-plan trend on the developer market. Close to 30 percent of the respondents wanting to rent a flat value flexibility and mobility, and therefore would appreciate not having to buy their own furniture.
Interestingly enough, tenants especially value flats with separate kitchens. The housing market has for years been inundated by developers with homes with kitchenettes. 48 percent of the respondents would prefer a separate kitchen compared to just a quarter strongly favouring open plan living.
Needless to say, the amount of rent to pay is key. The survey has revealed that it is a very important factor when renting to 91 percent of the respondents. Other deciding factors included the standard of accommodation (87 percent), having a balcony or a recessed balcony (77 percent) and a large terrace or garden (52 percent).
Easy access to public transport and proximity to a workplace or school is very important to 85 percent and 74 percent of the respondents, respectively. A flat in or close to the centre of a city is sought after by half of the respondents. Regarding the neighbourhood, proximity to stores and restaurants is important to 82 percent of the respondents while 78 percent cite closeness to parks, forests and other green areas as relevant.
Meanwhile, it is important to only 36 percent of the respondents to have a playground nearby, and to 42 percent to have schools, kindergartens and crèches in the neighbourhood, which is directly connected with the profile of potential tenants.
It is particularly notable that a landlord’s permission to keep a pet is very important to more than 60 percent of the respondents. The pandemic has seen a heightened interest in adopting and buying pets, which pushed their prices up by close to 30 percent YoY. Allowing pets at a property is, therefore, likely to be a key argument in favour of choosing the home of a pet-friendly landlord.