As Adam Branson’s ‘Tales of the unexpected’ showed, there’s little doubt that 2016, with all its upheavals, was among the most turbulent year ever for the property sector.

Paul Stadley SDL Group

However, as we begin the new calendar year, it’s far from all doom and gloom. Perhaps the most encouraging news delivered during the Autumn Statement is that build-to-rent providers will have access to the £2.3bn Housing Infrastructure Fund to help support the ‘get Britain building’ mandate.

This fund will undoubtedly help provide a variety of options for investors, but let’s check the small print, because is this really new money or just the re-hashing and packaging of past promises and schemes?

The continued uncertainty of the bond markets will see investors move towards more fluid, reliable investments that consistently yield a return on investment. Among these options are private rental schemes.

18 Albany Road, Earlsdon

The government no longer considers PRS to be a separate entity; it is now seen as a viable avenue to help drive housing growth.

Challenges in 2017

With a government focus on helping the vulnerable still top of the agenda, PRS has added another strand to the property sector alongside the open market and affordable housing.

Schemes such as the Right to Buy have kept tenants in properties longer than anticipated and, although beneficial for the individual, they have kept housing association homes from those who need them most.

Schemes must be managed in a more effective way so they are enticing for both tenants and build-to-rent investors

The challenge in 2017 lies in making PRS more desirable for those looking to climb the property ladder, which in turn would help free up affordable housing stock.

This starts with finding the right price for land, in the right locations, and then managing the schemes in a more effective way so they are enticing for both tenants and build-to-rent investors.

Against the backdrop of a challenging 12 months, it is more important than ever that we do all we can to help the market thrive once again in 2017. PRS plays a key role in this and now is the time to drive this forward.

Paul Staley, director, SDL Group