Financial services company Legal & General, already a major player in the burgeoning Build to Rent (BTR) sector, has revealed that it has exchanged contracts on two adjacent sites in Wandsworth which will combine to deliver its biggest BTR scheme to date.
The scheme, acquired by the Legal & General BTR Fund, PGGM and Legal & General Capital, is expected to cost around £500 million and will provide approximately 1,000 homes and 85,000 square feet of commercial space. The scheme already has full planning consent and will include 35% affordable housing in one of Central London’s most popular residential areas.
While demand for privately rented property has continued to rise in the UK - having grown by 34% over the last five years, according to Savills – supply has in many parts of the country failed to keep pace. It’s a significant issue in Wandsworth, where there is a noticeable supply/demand imbalance, with the latest London Plan identifying that the unmet housing need in Wandsworth has now reached a shortfall of 2,310 new homes per year.
Legal & General’s new scheme aims to be a significant contributor to tackling this shortage, ‘providing purpose-built rental homes with long leases for all ages, demographics and social groups’.
It covers six acres which are currently made up of home improvement outlets and represents the first BTR scheme in Wandsworth Town. Situated within Zone 2 and next to Wandsworth Town train station, the development – once complete - will include a new entrance to the platforms and will form a key part of the ongoing major regeneration of the local area.
Legal & General’s latest acquisition brings its total BTR pipeline to nearly 5,000 homes across the country. Its first BTR scheme based in London, Blackhorse Mills in Walthamstow, will open in the autumn of this year.
“This latest acquisition is another great example of Legal & General investing in a location with significant urban regeneration potential and providing large-scale sustainable rental schemes which will have a positive socioeconomic impact,” Dan Batterton, head of Build to Rent at LGIM Real Assets, said.
“The location is highly desirable for renters and, with 1,000 units planned for the site, demonstrates Legal & General’s ambition to make a real impact on the delivery of new homes within the UK. Representing our largest scheme to date, this flagship BTR development is another step forward towards tackling the severe housing crisis facing both London and the UK, offering homes for all ages and social groups, as well as reduced living costs thanks to economies of scale.”
Mathieu Elshout, senior director private real estate at PGGM, also commented on the new scheme: “Our growing BTR venture with Legal & General continues to deliver on our goal to have a positive impact on the UK’s built environment over the long term. As a responsible investor of Dutch pension capital, we are delighted to be partnering with Legal & General on this flagship scheme, delivering quality and affordable homes for elective renters and helping to tackle London’s growing housing crisis.”