The growth of Build To Rent is a symbol of Britain’s evolution…

The growth of the Build To Rent sector is a symbol of a changing Britain, according to one player in the BTR industry.

Paul Staley – director of Wise Living – says recent research from the British Property Federation shows the number of BTR homes will rise from 76,800 to over 380,000 over the next decade.

He comments: “With the ongoing housing crisis, interest rate hikes on mortgages and increased pressure to increase housing standards which squeeze private landlords, professionally managed BTR homes are becoming more essential in the UK as the buy-to-let industry struggles to keep up with demand as home ownership becomes increasingly inaccessible.

“People need a place to call home and it increasingly looks like BTR houses are poised to fill the void in the housing market and will play a leading role. So, while the origins of BTR were student housing and downtown apartment programs, this would expand into the rise of BTR Single Family Homes (SFH).

“Therefore, the forecast that SFH is expected to grow from 12% to 18% of all BTR shares today comes as no surprise. More and more people, across the UK – not just in the cities – want to rent a family home.”

This shift in the UK housing landscape is also influencing the behaviors of property players who respond to these trends, according to Staley.

He continues: “For real estate investors and developers, this has meant a shift in the types of portfolios they create. It makes sense to diversify and spread both risk and opportunity. To do this, they are looking outside of the more established BTR markets and into SFH in suburban towns.

“In fact, as the UK follows European trends and continues to shift from a buyer generation to a rental culture, it is highly likely that SFH will eventually outpace other types of BTR accommodation. At Wise Living, we’ve seen this demand in action, with over 15 programs delivered over the past few years and a healthy pipeline of single-family BTR developments.

As the industry develops, this will inevitably increase the number of BTR specialists who will also enter the market, but this should be approached with caution.

Staley concludes: “The industry has grown considerably over the past decade, but its success depends on the knowledge of BTR specialists who must guide investors, developers and local authorities to make the best decisions. Everything from location, layout and types of accommodation should be considered and specifications worked out to maximize return on investment, while providing accommodation that is both high quality and value for money.

“The earlier the conversation begins when it comes to coordinating the value of BTR opportunities, the more efficient the process, less risk and faster return on investment.”

James V. Hayes