Build to Rent (BTR) homes could help more Londoners find affordable, high-quality accommodation with additional amenities, playing its part in solving London's long-term housing crisis.
That's according to a snapshot analysis of twenty developments across the capital by business campaign group London First, in partnership with the British Property Federation (BPF), Dataloft and the UK Apartment Association (UKAA), the main BTR trade body.
The new report - ‘Who lives in Build-to-Rent?’ - claims that BTR also offers longer-term, secure accommodation, with 95% of schemes offering tenants a three-year lease and a further 10% of schemes offering longer.
So far, 33,835 developments have been completed in London, and there are currently 15,299 developments under construction, with 40,544 in planning.
The data suggests the BTR sector is an affordable option available for singles, couples, sharers and families looking to make a long-term commitment to their living arrangements.
From those sampled, BTR residents’ incomes are broadly similar to those living in the private rented sector, with 27% of BTR residents earning between £26,000 to £38,000 compared to 26% of those living in the wider private rental market. For couples and sharers, their gross house income spent on rent was below the 30% national benchmark.
The report provides insight from 9,994 residents living in 6,267 homes across 20 schemes in the capital. It found that:
Two-thirds (66%) of residents in the BTR sample were couples or sharers, compared to 51% in the wider private rental sector.
Just over a third (35%) of tenants have a three-year lease, with 95% of BTR schemes offering this type of lease.
BTR has comparable levels of affordability to the private rented sector for all tenancy types.
Stephanie Pollitt, programme director for housing at London First, said: “The pandemic has put the private rental market under increased scrutiny, but this report shows that well-managed homes that are high-quality, affordable and available for longer leases can increasingly be the reality for Londoners."
She added: “There is sometimes a perception that BTR is not accessible to many tenants, but this report demonstrates that the sector is able to meet the needs of Londoners at whatever stage in life they’re at, including for those with families. BTR developments are not just a quick fix – they are a viable long-term solution for many, and the sector has an important part to play in helping to alleviate London’s housing crisis.”
Dave Butler, chief executive at UKAA, said: “This timely report adds further evidence that BTR is a quality housing solution for a wide range of people – families as well as couples and young professionals. The gathering pace of the sector means that all across London we can look to BTR as a genuine source of additional housing delivered faster than other solutions and with a greater focus on residents’ needs and aspirations.”
Meanwhile, James Simondson, assistant director of policy at the BPF, said: “This report again shows that BTR is a key solution to the many housing challenges facing London. BTR is delivering an unparalleled renting experience to a diverse range of Londoners – high-quality, professionally managed, affordable and tenure-secure homes with access to amenities included. Additionally, and as this report outlines, BTR has been a key delivery partner to the Greater London Authority in building intermediate rented homes in tenure-blind BTR schemes. The release of this report is a timely reminder that with greater collaboration between local authorities and the sector, we can unlock the full potential of BTR to provide intermediate rented homes in integrated and sustainable communities across London.”
Sandra Jones, managing director at Dataloft, added: “This is the second ‘Who Lives in Build to Rent?’ study for London and the data sample has increased five-fold since the first report. Twelve operators and investors kindly contributed their data this time which is a testament to the spirit of collaboration and co-operation in the sector and the drive to deepen understanding of its customer base. Getting this level of industry support means we can build a robust foundation of knowledge as the sector matures.”