A leading Build to Rent (BTR) provider has set a target of securing more than 500 BTR homes in the South West over the next three years as it continues to expand its growing developer partner network in the UK.
The BTR sector, where homes are purpose-built for the private rental market, has boomed in the UK in recent years, with almost £420 million invested into the UK market during Q3 2021. The South West, previously not much of a BTR hotbed, is one of the regions that is now seeing 'serious' rental growth.
In Savills’ Q3 UK Build-To-Rent Market Update 2021, Bristol’s rental growth since March 2020 came second only to Sheffield, with a 7% increase, while its three-month rental growth forecast is roughly in line with Leeds and Glasgow at 2.9% and ahead of Liverpool and Manchester.
The rental growth documented in the report indicates the opportunity for BTR developers in the South West, with Katie Stamper, partnerships manager at Wise Living, who looks after developer partnerships and opportunities for the BTR provider in the South West, believing there is an undersupply of good-quality single-family homes to rent in the region.
“The BTR market continues to soar across the UK and there is a real growth opportunity in the South West," Stamper said. "Right now, we are seeing an increasing number of BTR flats being built in central locations such as Bristol and Exeter. These generally cater to young professionals and students who are attracted to high rise living and city centre locations."
She added: “Conversely, there is a real undersupply in the region of single-family homes to rent in suburban areas and towns. We know that the pandemic has increased people’s ability to work remotely, and as such, many people have reevaluated the way they want to live. Our own research of 1,000 renters in the UK showed that 45% now prioritise living near green spaces, We have also seen a rise in demand for the smaller cities, with the Savills Q3 BTR update finding that many London relocators are moving to areas like Bristol which are less densely populated and more affordable."
She went on: “So that really shows the opportunity. At the moment anyone searching for new build family homes to rent in Bristol and other popular South West locations will find they are facing stiff competition.”
At present, Wise Living has 10 active BTR developments in the UK, including in Coventry, Wolverhampton, Boston, Nottingham, Rotherham and Telford. The firm specialises in working with developer partners including Strata, Lovell, Seagate Homes and Keon Homes to bring BTR developments to suburban locations of cities and large towns where there is a clear undersupply of quality rental homes.
Stamper argues that’s why the BTR provider is stepping up to the challenge of providing BTR homes in the South West. “We have a strong track record of success and have developed some fantastic schemes with our house builder partners in the Midlands and the North. We’re now bringing our model down to the South West where we have plans to develop hundreds of quality rental homes to meet demand across the region."
“We have seen a growing interest from house builders and developers to tap into the BTR market to increase their revenue and de-risk sites. We are looking forward to working with partners in the South West to meet our ambitious targets and provide quality homes for rent in the region.