Gavin Barry, chief exec, Prosperity
Last week’s unveiling of plans for a £175m landmark scheme in the centre of Manchester shows UK’s regional cities are booming and build-to-rent (BTR) can help keep the good times going.
It is an exciting time for the regions. Cities that were once the heart of British industry are beginning to pump again, creating a wealth of opportunities for investors, professionals and recent graduates.
While it may look like nothing can stop the growth of the regional economies, there certainly is: the undersupply of quality housing.
This is an issue throughout the UK but it is becoming increasingly noticeable in cities such as Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester which continue to go from strength to strength and attract an array of capital, both foreign and domestic. Those flocking to the regions to live and thrive need quality homes that cater for their lifestyle and – most importantly – make them want to stay.
As an asset class, BTR follows a philosophy that regional economies should mimic: long-term yields, high retention rates and quality that stands the test of time.
Last year’s housing white paper showed significant support for BTR in order to drive diversification in the housing market. This, combined with further devolution to the regions, is helping the sector blossom and is galvanising regeneration. Our latest Manchester development, on the site of Boddingtons Brewery, is doing exactly that – delivering high-quality homes for residents and a brand-new destination for the wider public.
The BTR sector has gained a lot of traction in the regions, with more than 10,244 rental homes currently under construction. In London, there are just over 6,000 under construction. London’s dominance is clearing waning and all eyes are on the regions. And rightly so.