The recent research from Savills and the British Property Federation (BPF) on the build-to-rent (BTR) sector shows how much progress has already been made. However, as the sector continues to advance and mature, it is essential that tenant experience remains part of its raison d’être.
Institutional investors are clearly realising the value inherent in BTR as an asset class, but we must ensure that as new entrants flock to the space, short-sightedness and quick profit do not dominate.
Customer experience and tenant expectation have so far been pivotal in the rise of BTR,
and long may this continue. As rental prices continue to rocket, tenants are rightly expecting more for their money. Operators can take note from the creative solutions to changing tenant demands seen in the commercial property market – take the flex space revolution, for instance.
One inevitable consequence of increased investment, and interest, is increased competition. Those that continue to place an emphasis on tenant experience will prosper and grow; those that adopt an ‘up and done’ mentality may not. Quick and easy profit will not lead to long-term investments.
Instead, sustainable innovation, assisted by software and tech functionality that supports and grows alongside the sector will unlock long-term success for BTR.
Our experience at Grosvenor Systems is that property management is time intensive and having the headspace to dedicate to innovation can at times feel like a distant luxury. This is where property management systems play a role, shifting tenant management online, increasing efficiency and streamlining administrative processes.
This is particularly relevant given our current housing crisis. BTR has a role to play in the diversification of housing supply, as Ian Fletcher, the BPF’s director of policy, suggests.
Looking to the future, as BTR continues to grow and supply begins to catch up with demand, tenant experience will dominate the narrative. BTR providers need the time and space to continue
to think about the future and focus on value-add services rather than being caught up by short-term wins.
Stuart Wilson, business development executive, Grosvenor Systems