Landlords with buy-to-let investment property portfolios might do well to pay attention to the increasing trend of building for children being adopted by property developers looking for an edge when attracting buyers. More and more of us are now living in the crowded urban environment of cities. The rise of sedentary electronic entertainment forms taking up much of children’s leisure time is often considered to be the prime culprit for the drop off in the amount of time today’s children spend playing outdoors.
However, the lack of accessible and safe outdoors areas suitable for children to play freely in with no or minimum adult supervision has also been highlighted by urban planning consultancy Arup. This obstacle to youngsters spending time involved in physically active pursuits is increasingly high in areas where families live in high rise apartment buildings.
Arup says that building child-friendly homes is ¬vital if cities want to remain competitive. And it appears that parents agree and are voting with their mortgages. Property developers are increasingly noticing that properties that provide communal areas suited to letting kids run freely and safely in them have a strong competitive edge when it comes to attracting buyers. James Fenner of property marketing agency Silk Road supports the claim:
“Along with good Wi-Fi, parking and a facility to accept ¬deliveries, we’ve found that people looking for an apartment prioritised a communal garden. More people were keen on integrating nature in the home than integrating technology.”
Home builders and developers are taking note. The Telegraph notes that Lendlease, an Australian developer active in the UK, is prioritizing outdoors play areas specifically designed with under-7s in mind in its new developments in London, Manchester and York. Its south-west London development of townhouses and apartments is centred on an ‘urban meadow’ with an ‘eco-play area’ with a focus on ropes and timber rather than bright plastic.
The 75-floor Landmark Pinnacle in East London’s Isle of Dogs has a dedicated its 27th floor to an indoor garden space as well as featuring a rooftop garden. Developer Charlegrove Properties says that it is intended as “a space where children can build tepees, play hide and seek and navigate the space as if they were in a park, and where their parents can chat as they watch over them.”
More well known housebuilders such as Barratt and Berkeleys Homes are taking a similar approach and incorporating child-friendly communal gardens and play areas in new developments.
The increased appeal of properties that offer families a safe communal play area for children may in time become something demanded of new developments. Those considering investment properties where families are the target tenants should take note!