Build to Rent is going mainstream. The industry is shaking off previous misconceptions about the sector and is starting to embrace it as a key way of rapidly increasing much needed high quality housing capacity.
Momentum for Build to Rent has been driven not only by this shift in perception but by significant advances in this area, with the proposal of new regulations and the introduction of key government initiatives. The ULI’s “Build to Rent: A Best Practice Guide” has also successfully sought to establish a quality benchmark for the design and management of Build to Rent in the UK.
While the industry has already taken great strides towards the Build to Rent opportunity, there are still challenges ahead. The one big constraint is that Built to Rent can’t compete for sites with build-to-sell in terms of financial returns. The repeal of the Stamp Duty Land Tax unexpectedly imposed on institutional investors as part of the Chancellor’s budget earlier this year could help address this issue in part.
The scale and repeatability of Build to Rent lends itself to modern methods of construction, such as build offsite, which means that rental units can be built at speed. Higher levels of control in the factory setting compared to a construction site, also translate into reduced energy and maintenance costs of the building, so it’s also a win-win solution in terms of build quality.
There is a very clear requirement for more homes to be provided in this tenure which will help boost supply across the country, not just London and the South East, and success will be underpinned by designing and building purpose built rental developments that people want to live in.
Jeff Maxted,Director of Technical Consultancy