What is Build to Rent?

Build-to-rent is homes purpose-built for rent, rather than for sale. Build-to-rent is fast becoming an established sector in the UK housing market to meet demand for high-quality, professionally-managed rental housing – both for urban living (typically as apartments) and suburban (as single-family homes).

BTR’s two-pronged approach – to provide an unparalleled tenancy experience, as well as ensuring the location and neighbourhood is prosperous and integrated – means that BTR not only builds apartments and houses, but communities as well.

The BTR model provides an enhanced experience for tenants including:

  • Good quality homes aimed at general or targeted demographics, with longer term tenancies and predictable rents. They are mainly in larger towns and cities, and often situated near good public transport interchanges.
  • Integrated, scheme-wide property management. Most developments will have staff on-site and they will be operating 24/7 to provide security and support.
  • Communal facilities and social activities –residents will typically have access to generous communal facilities, such as resident lounges, gyms, roof terraces, guest rooms to hire and social activities.
  • Services – BTR providers innovate in service delivery. Many are offering superfast broadband, helpful concierges, storage lockers and bike parking, and additional services such as car hire, dry cleaning and childcare.

Growing at scale

The BTR industry is racing to fill the gap left by buy-to-let investors exiting the market, and deliver the homes that society so desperately needs. There are now 76,800 completed BTR homes, with 49,800 under construction and a further 113,500 in the pipeline when including those currently in the pre-application stage. That’s a total of 240,200 homes, and Savills believes the industry has the potential to delivery nearly ten times that. This would place it very close to the 2.6 million homes of the Housing Association economy, with its clear social purpose remit.

Social Value impact

BTR has social value at its core, with long-term investors committed to strong social value and sustainability goals central to their investments.

As well as providing much-needed additionally housing, BTR developments and operations typically add economic and social gains through:

  • Local employment
  • Increased demand for local services, shops and businesses
  • Community support programmes based upon local need, working with local authorities and charities to identify need

BTR is anchored on a thriving location with good local amenities and access to jobs, services and infrastructure. For investors, the surrounding neighbourhood is linked to investment gains whilst for providers it is linked to maintaining occupancy. This includes prioritising the provision of trees and green spaces, walking and cycling infrastructure, a strong local economy with diverse retail offerings and access to transport links.

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