Grainger has reported strong growth in rents, up 9% to £21.8m in the six months to 31 March, in an interim report which also revealed the group’s increasing focus on the private rented sector (PRS).

Helen Gordon

RESI Award winner Helen Gordon said Grainger is on ”a strong growth trajectory”

The UK’s largest listed residential landlord also posted a 23% increase in profit before tax year-on-year to £50.6m from £41.2m at the same point last year.

Commenting the morning after she won Personality of the Year at the RESI Awards 2018, chief executive Helen Gordon said the results showed the group is “well positioned for the future” and to take advantage of the “vast opportunity” in the PRS sector.

Grainger’s secured PRS investment pipeline now stands at £756m, up from £439m at the same stage last year, with have a further £258m at the planning or legals stage. Gordon pledged to invest £850m in PRS when she outlined plans to focus on the sector in 2016.

Continued investment into PRS schemes, including a 261-home scheme in Milton Keynes it acquired for £63m earlier this week, has seen net debt rise to £912m from £791m in March 2017 and loan-to-value ratio increase to 39% from 36% last year.

The group also reported 4.1% like-for-like rental growth across its portfolio and a 20% increase in adjusted earnings to £40.9m.

Gordon added: “We continue to lead the private rented sector (PRS), a sector undergoing structural growth, and we are well positioned for the future. We are a business on a strong growth trajectory and the opportunity in the UK PRS market is vast. We are uniquely placed given our market leading position and our in-house capability to originate, invest and operate homes for rent.

“Our like-for-like rental growth was 4.1% over the six-month period. We are positioning Grainger for the next stage of growth, with investment in people, processes and technology to optimise our efficiency and scalability.”

Grainger will post full year results in November.