Editor: The coronavirus pandemic has raised a number of fundamental questions about our economy. On an individual level, it has also forced us to adapt the way we live and work (‘72% of employers want to retain home working after the pandemic’). For many of us, our home has become our place of work.
This throws up lots of exciting challenges around how homes are designed and used. But it also presents an opportunity to reflect on our country’s preoccupation with homeownership. Is it time that we acknowledge what renting is for many people: a lifestyle choice?
The build-to-rent (BTR) sector has been revolutionising the housing market – pushing the boundaries on design, placing an emphasis on quality, fostering a sense of community, and delivering an enhanced level of service and professional management – for some time. However, the pandemic has shone a new light on the sector, its benefits and how it has supported residents.
This is underpinned by the investment model. The long-term appeal of the BTR market has allowed the sector to remain resilient in the face of the pandemic. It was not affected by the construction downturn or economic climate in the way that other residential and commercial sectors were.
Not only is this good for investors, it is good for housing delivery, as there has been a marked increase in appetite for the sector from both domestic and international capital.
According to the British Property Federation, the BTR sector now has more than 170,000 homes in the pipeline – with over 50,000 homes completed. This will only accelerate, with 2020 set to be a record year for investment in BTR stock in the UK, which is expected to top £4bn.
This investment is across the whole country: more than 60% of BTR homes on large schemes of 75 units or over are due to be built outside of London.
The government has made a number of commitments: to get Britain building, to level up the regions and to deliver homes across the country.
BTR has shown the crucial role the sector can play in all three of these areas.
Rebecca Taylor, managing director of BTR, Long Harbour