When we started Fronted, we wanted to make the moving experience better by removing the headache renters had when plumping up 5 weeks rent for a deposit. Most people we spoke to either didn’t want to spend the money, didn’t have the money, or had it - but it was in a deposit protection scheme, inaccessible when they needed it.
was when someone had found a place they wanted to move, they would search for us and get their deposit for the new property Fronted. Quick and easy right when they needed it. But that hasn’t been the case.
Let me back up a bit.
Fronted was founded pre-Covid (PC?) when the rental market was strong (really strong) and the need for our product would grow based on factors such as fewer affordable and social houses being built and increasing rent prices. But now, coronavirus mixed up the game. We didn’t know what the impact would be, but renters’ behaviour has changed.
Rental property searches have gone up by 34%, but property moves have decreased by 31%. Such a clear indication that renters are spending more time dreaming than living. People want to move - they just can’t. And money is the big blocker. Renters are more likely to have been impacted by Covid-19, they’re more likely to have been furloughed and more likely to have non-work-from-home-friendly jobs.
More than 50% of people who come to us are using Fronted to help them shop for a property.
The behaviour change is simple to understand: renters want to know whether or not they could get a deposit from us before they go and look for a property.
This echoes the behaviour seen in the mortgage market. Generally speaking, buyers will get a mortgage in principle before they put an offer on a home. It locks down one of the most significant variables of the purchasing decision: what can I afford?
Pre-launch we are getting one thousand applications a month from people who want the same product but for the rental market. They are coming to us roughly 2.5 months before their tenancy agreements are up, giving us plenty of time to help them in more ways.
The country is facing a second-wave and another potential lockdown.
What we learnt from the first was businesses could operate more compassionately and embrace WFH. The repercussions of which rippled into the housing and rental market because people re-assessed their living situations more carefully.
I expect a second-wave of housing epiphanies - especially if the lockdown impacts the holiday season dramatically. There will be a spike of motivation in the market, and more people will dream of moving house. And we will be here to turn their dreams into reality.
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