Family renting – it’s becoming increasingly more common as the average age of first-time buyers continues to rise and more people decide that renting provides them with the flexibility and freedom they require.
The trend of families residing in the Private Rented Sector (PRS) is particularly well-supported by the most recent English Housing Survey, which was released in January.
According to the research, the proportion of households in the PRS with dependent children is now 38%, while the number of PRS households has increased by almost one million since 2006/07.
More households with dependent children are renting – but where are the best places for these families to live and what are the key criteria they need to consider?
Six family rental locations to look out for
Just east of Nottingham and not far from Derby, Leicester and Sheffield, Bingham is a market town with around 10,000 residents. Family renters will find a town with lots of good schools to choose from as well as a buzzing centre and excellent road links.
One of the East Midlands' best family locations, Bingham is an historic town which offers so much for children and young adults.
- Best-known schools: Rushcliffe School (secondary), Robert Miles Junior School (primary).
- Green spaces: Linear Walk and Cotgrave Country Park.
- Average rental price for a family home: £845 per month for a three-bedroom rental property (Zoopla).
Beautifully located in between the North Wessex Downs and the Cotswolds, the market town of Faringdon is a great place to bring up children in the midst of some of the country's best green spaces.
What's more, the town is also not far from employment hubs Swindon, Oxford, Cheltenham and Gloucester - offering manageable commutes for working parents. This attractive setting to start a family also boasts an annual arts festival, strong community values and a range of local sports and leisure clubs.
- Best-known schools: Burford School (secondary), Faringdon Junior School (primary).
- Green spaces: Tucker’s Park and Barcote Park.
- Average rental price for a family home: £936 per month for a three-bedroom rental property (Zoopla).
Skipton, North Yorkshire
With a population of around 15,000, Skipton is a small market town which is extremely popular with young families. Not only does it have a very low crime rate, Skipton has all the amenities a family needs to thrive including shops, parks and leisure activities.
The quaint and affordable town is not far from larger centres Bradford and York and it sits between the Forest of Bowland and Nidderdale, both of which are designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
- Best-known schools: Craven College(secondary), Skipton Parish Church School (primary).
- Green spaces: Aireville Park and Oakfield Park.
- Average rental price for a family home: £700 per month for a three-bedroom rental property (Zoopla).
Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire
Situated just outside London and considered part of the capital's commuter belt, Bishop's Stortford is also located near Essex, Luton and Welwyn Garden City. Due to its size and proximity to key locations, the market town has many job opportunities as well as a varied housing stock, making it ideal for families.
It's also the closest town of note to Stansted Airport - perfect for all those family holidays! Alongside many good schools and superb transport links, Bishop's Stortford also has some very famous past residents, including Russell Brand, Sam Smith, Charli XCX and Greg James.
- Best-known schools: The Bishop's Stortford High School (secondary), Northgate (primary).
- Green spaces: Sworder's Field and Bishop's Stortford Southern Country Park.
- Average rental price for a family home: £1,701 per month for a three-bedroom rental property (Zoopla).
Lower Earley, Berkshire
A large suburb to the east of Reading, Lower Earley is a residential area with around 30,000 to 40,000 inhabitants, many of whom are growing families.
The area benefits from low crime rates, several top schools and good shopping facilities. For working parents, Lower Earley's location is a dream, perfectly placed to commute to London or Reading without losing that family town feel.
- Best-known schools: Kendrick School (secondary), Radstock (primary).
- Green spaces: Friends of the Harris Garden and Laurel Park Recreation Ground.
- Average rental price for a family home: £1,286 per month for a three-bedroom rental property (Zoopla).
A thriving market town situated not far from major cities Manchester and Liverpool, Sandbach is a location which is sure to be a hit with family renters.
Strong commuter links are bolstered by the nearby presence of the beautiful Peak District, the perfect setting to take the children at the weekend and get away from it all.
The aspirational town has a population of around 20,000, a range of good schools and is a truly idyllic spot for families to develop and thrive.
- Best-known schools: Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School (secondary), Elworth Hall (primary).
- Green spaces: Sandbach Park and St Mary’s Wood.
- Average rental price for a family home: £862 per month for a three-bedroom rental property (Zoopla).
How to find the best area for your family
When looking for a family rental home, there are a range of things you need to consider. Renters will place slightly more importance on certain criteria, but the core considerations remain the same.If you're looking for a rental home suitable to raise your family, the property itself will need to be spacious and preferably have some outdoor space.
Being close to green spaces is a bonus, while you'll also need to make sure the property is in the catchment area for local schools.
As parents, you'll also need to choose somewhere which allows you to get to work relatively easily and if your chosen location has a strong community of like-minded families, then all the better.
Wherever you decide to reside, it's abundantly clear that family renting is a growing phenomenon. Therefore, hopefully we see an increase in the available and suitable homes for this demographic in order to meet growing demand.