Home ownership is in the government’s DNA, many of its policies specifically designed to encourage people to buy their own homes.
Yet the build-to-rent (BTR) sector is booming. According to the BPF, the number of BTR homes completed last year grew by 23%.
Yes, there are financial factors behind this increase. But while buying a home is beyond the reach of a lot of people, for others the notion of owning their home just does not have the appeal it did for previous generations.
Many younger people lead increasingly flexible lives. They want to be ‘fleet of foot’, moving from place to place, often where work takes them. Consequently, they see renting as a preferable option.
But it is not only the young who see the advantage of living in a BTR scheme. At the other end of the demographic spectrum, a growing number of older people want to experience a different way of living.
Whatever their age, people moving into a BTR scheme want a shared experience. Rather than leading lives in a traditional apartment set-up, they want places where they can meet others easily. New BTR developments offer such opportunities in abundance: shared kitchens, dining rooms, swimming pools, wine rooms, cinemas, game rooms and – not forgetting the quintessential facility of shared accommodation – the laundry room.
And as with creating any warm, welcoming and secure home, good design in BTR schemes is essential. Such design considerations deliver those elements that turn the living experience from something convenient and perfunctory into something delightful.
Our design is focused on unlocking the best opportunities of a shared living experience. Our guiding principles are community, conviviality and collaboration. Our experience of working in hospitality developments has also been a huge benefit.
We have taken the concept of being welcomed into a hospitality space, be it a hotel or a restaurant, and applied similar thinking to a BTR scheme. People entering their development want to be welcomed, to feel valued and to feel at home – their home.
James Dilley is director at Jestico + Whiles