You might assume that there were many different priorities people have when looking for a new rental; things like location or space, whether the property has a garden, who the neighbours are, how close to shops and services it is or how close to public transport, that was at least until a recent poll showed us some very interesting results. It seems that what tenants care about most when renting property is not any of the aforementioned. It is instead affordability, and this wins out over every other concern and factor. An astonishing two-thirds of respondents in the Knight Frank UK Tenant Survey, which is one of the biggest surveys of its kind ever carried out, were recorded as saying that affordability would win over all other concerns.

A quarter of the respondents said that location was king when renting and a meagre 10% said it was size that mattered.

It seems we can bracket those tenants who care about affordability when looking at their average annual salaries – yes that’s right the tenants who care about affordability reflect a demographic. In fact it was those earning between £30,000 and £35,000 a year who were the ones who cared most about affordability. A whopping 67% of these chose affordability over all other factors. Moving up the income scale we finally start to see a change with 39% of those earning between £50,000 and £60,000 a year citing location as the key guiding factor behind their choice of rental.

So what does this mean for Eastbourne landlords? The average Eastbourne income is around £32,962. This puts Eastbourne tenants firmly in the demographic of those looking for affordability over all else. This is an important point to take on board if you are an Eastbourne landlord. This doesn’t mean the other factors aren’t taken into consideration but it does impact on how you choose to invest in your rental property. Clearly lower rents are on the cards as opposed to expensively decorated properties that have higher than average monthly costs to your tenants. So the message: invest wisely, try and keep costs down and you are providing a more desirable package to your tenant.

To put these results in perspective you have to look at what proportion of their gross income your tenants are being asked to pay in rents.  When asked this important question there were some interesting disparities in the location of the respondents. In areas like Eastbourne the answer was encouraging to landlords with respondents saying they would pay as much 32% of their annual income on rent. Compare this to the North of the country and we can see the figure drops as low as 17%. What is interesting with these metrics is when you start bringing age in as a filter. Some 23% of those aged under 25 were prepared to pay between 40-50% of their monthly pay as rent. This may sound steep but if we compare it to the cost of living in the capital, something which many younger renters choose to do the figure soars over 50% of annual income outlining just how far young people will go to live in a place they perceive as offering significant opportunity.

For Eastbourne landlords this demographic is less significant due to the average age and income of our citizens. The message to Eastbourne landlords is that we have it good – rental prices are a growth industry and one which, comparative to the rest of the country has tenants willing to pay costs that are competitive.