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Is Build-to-Rent the solution to the housing crisis?

Since we began our membership with the British Property Federation (BPF), we have been in touch with them to discuss the current UK Housing Crisis and the emerging Build-to-Rent market.

Following the Conservative victory in the 2015 General Election the Government has made no secret of its desire to see an increase in home-ownership, however there is still a desperate need for rental accommodation. Last week Savills released research saying that 1 million rental homes are needed in the next five years, as demand for renting is certainly not diminishing. Alongside this, a group of 20 housing associations in the North of England are commissioning research looking at how to build homes that appeal to graduates as they fight to keep hold of the talent they are developing in university cities such as Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield and Manchester.

Home ownership isn’t for everyone, for some it just isn’t feasible, for others it isn’t logical as they have made a lifestyle choice to remain mobile. So what is the answer? The relatively new Build-to-Rent sector could prove to be it. Pension funds and other institutional investors are increasingly investing in new housing, delivering high quality, market-rented homes. This part of the housing sector has been quietly expanding over the past two years.

Build-to-Rent homes are designed and built specifically for renting. The primary motivation of investors is to keep their buildings fully-occupied with satisfied tenants. That means offering longer tenancies, other flexibilities, good amenities, and good transport links for easy commuting.

Earlier last week the BPF released figures that showed that there are now over 30,000 Build-to-Rent units with planning permission in the UK, a 47% increase since October, when it was calculated that there was 21,000 units with permission.

Last week they had  been inundated with developers and investors sharing information on deals that are going through and planning being granted. London is still leading the way with almost 19,000 units with planning permission, an increase of 33% since October, but the regions are catching up with around 12,500 units with permission a huge uplift of 76% compared to October.

The BPF believe that this ever burgeoning sector can assist the UK in creating the stock it desperately needs and provide good homes for young professionals and key workers that are being priced out of the market in London while providing a professional service to renters in the north that desire a higher standard of living in  city centres. Although Build-to-Rent is not the silver bullet to the UK’s housing crisis it is definitely an important and growing piece of the puzzle.

If you are involved in a development for the Build-to-Rent / Private Rental Sector and would like to know how you can protect your investment, click here to find out about our specifically designed Structural Warranty or contact our PRS Consultant Michael Hobson on 07867618435.

Credit: Will Bushby - Senior Policy Officer (Housing), British Property Federation

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