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BTR – thriving cities, new hires and BTR awareness week

Newcastle, Leeds, Birmingham and Manchester have seen the largest year-on-year rental increase across the Build to Rent (BTR) sector, the latest research from Ascend Properties has shown.

The BTR specialist analysed rental market data on the sector to see where has seen the biggest increase in rental market prices, as well as where the BTR sector is commanding the highest rental premiums when compared to the regular market.

The research shows that 10 major cities across England have seen BTR rental prices climb between 2019 and 2020, although some have shown stronger growth than others.


Which cities have seen the largest BTR rental increases?

Newcastle leads the way with the current average rent in the sector at £858, a 17% increase on the previous year. Leeds has also enjoyed a strong rate of growth, up 6% with the current average BTR rent sitting at £892.

At 3%, growth in Birmingham and Manchester has been lower but still places the two cities third in the rankings where year-on-year change is concerned.

Liverpool (2%), Sheffield (2%), Sunderland (1%) and Plymouth (1%) have also seen positive growth, while Leicester (0.2%) and Southampton (0.1%) have remained largely static.

What areas have the biggest BTR rental premiums?

London still tops the league of largest rental premiums in the BTR sector. At £1,785 per month on average, Build to Rent properties in the capital command £146 more on average when compared to the average rental price of £1,639.

Both Oxford and Cambridge are the only other cities where the BTR rental premium tops £100 at £126 and £104 higher than the average monthly rental income respectively.

Bristol (£94), Manchester (£77) and Leeds (£74) are also home to some of the largest monthly rental premiums when comparing Build to Rent incomes with the regular market.

Ged McPartlin, managing director of  Ascend Properties, comments: “Despite a tough year, the rental market has stood pretty firm and it’s great to see the Build to Rent sector helping to drive top line growth across a number of major cities, while also continuing to command a premium when compared to the regular market.”

“This has been, in part, down to the wider lifestyle offering the sector provides. Homes designed for long term renting with the addition of social amenities and the greater availability of indoor and outdoor space is certainly something that is resonating with residence since lockdown restrictions were imposed.”

He adds: “With a greater sense of normality now returning, we should see this positive market growth continue to grow as more of us return to working, living and renting in cities across the country.”

Ringley Group appoints new MD to spearhead BTR division

Residential property consultancy Ringley Group has appointed a new managing director to its Build to Rent (BTR) division as the company aims to expand its exposure to the sector.

Ian Barber joins the firm after having worked in the property industry for over 18 years across various disciplines.

He will help lead Life by Ringly, which advises investors and operators across the whole lifecycle of a BTR asset, from design and planning through to lease-up, operations and disposal.

Prior to his time at Landmark, Barber managed Hunters flagship Manchester office where he received two national awards for exceeding highest income and highest conveyancing instructions across the group.

He was also commissioned by developers on some of Manchester’s new building helping to establish schedules and viability 

Based in Ringley Group’s Manchester office, Barber will focus on growing Life by Ringley’s client base while also supporting the mobilisation and operations of mandated BTR schemes across the North of England and the Midlands. 

Life by Ringley has advised major BTR investors and operators such as Curlew, Patrizia and Moda Living, and is currently instructed on BTR developments in Manchester, Stockport, and Coventry.

Last year Ringley Group launched PlanetRent, an automated lettings platform designed to streamline reporting for BTR investors and operators with large, geographically dispersed portfolios.

Commenting on his appointment, Barber says: “Ringley Group boasts a deep knowledge of all things residential and the firm has a forward-thinking approach to technology and innovation that will chime with many in the build-to-rent space.

“Working out of the Group’s Manchester office, I aim to drive Ringley’s continued expansion in the regions while also supporting existing clients in the launch and operations of their schemes.”

Mary-Anne Bowring, group managing director at Ringley, adds: “While house prices have grabbed all the lines, Britain’s build-to-rent sector has gone from strength to strength, with an increasing number of operational schemes and more investors looking to deploy capital.”

“Ian’s deep residential expertise and strong network will help support our growth particularly in the North of England and Midlands and I look forward to working alongside him to bolster our presence in the build-to-rent sector.”

Are you ready for Build to Rent awareness week?

The UK’s first Build to Rent customer awareness week, Love to Rent Week, will take place this week to demonstrate what sets it apart from renting from the traditional private landlord

The campaign is supported by the British Property Federation and the UKAA as well as a host of operators, including Allsop, Simple Life, Folio and Fizzy Living.

While the industry has been talking about BTR for years, Love to Rent says the many benefits of renting in a professionally managed, purpose-built development are not necessarily well known by tenants.

Exclusively designed to market Build to Rent developments, the online portal aims to create an established marketplace for rental homes that customers can have confidence in.

A dedicated website has been created for Love to Rent Week creating a hub of information about BTR, as well as giving BTR operators the opportunity to promote their developments and feature case studies, incentives and events.

The tenant agenda is in the spotlight currently with the government promising a better deal for renters in the recent Queen’s speech and announcing longer notice periods will be preserved as Covid restrictions ease.

The narrative around tenants’ rights has focused on protecting renters in the private rented market, but Love to Rent says there is a big opportunity to change perceptions of renting and Love to Rent Week aims to highlight a different side of the market that promises security, flexibility and high levels of service.

Peter Sloane, Chair of Love to Rent, comments: “The Build to Rent sector has been gathering momentum for years but now with over 50,000 units now occupied and record investment into the sector last year, we have reached a tipping point where it has become a mainstream consumer market.”

“Love to Rent Week aims to make Build to Rent more customer-friendly, providing a platform to engage and create a positive buzz around renting, so people have a better understanding of what is on offer and feel comfortable and secure when looking to rent a home.”

He concludes: “The key selling points of Build to Rent including great customer service, longer tenancies, on-site amenities and a sense of community are what set this type of living apart. Renting has never managed to shake off that image of a slightly unreliable private landlord, but we want to dispel those myths and show there is a different way to rent.”

For more information, visit the Love to Rent Week website here.


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