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Build to Rent meeting the needs of London’s diverse population, says report
4 January 2021
A snapshot analysis of ten developments across London indicates that Build-to-Rent homes – high-quality, professionally managed, purpose-built homes for private rent – are being taken up by a diverse range of tenants.
The report, Who lives in Build to Rent?by London First, British Property Federation and United Kingdom Apartments Association (UKAA), suggests that the Build-to-Rent schemes in the capital are attracting a variety of tenants through a combination of high-quality homes, predictable rents, and world-class communal spaces and services, with the sector becoming an increasingly important part of London’s housing market.
The data shows that the Build-to-Rent sector is housing hard-working Londoners on middle incomes, with 29% of those sampled earning between £32 – 47,000, only marginally higher than across the whole private rented sector (24%). 43% of all Build-to-Rent residents earn less than £32,000 per year in comparison to the average income of £43,400 for Londoners.
Case studies also reveal that a strong sense of community has developed following on from the pandemic, with Build-to-Rent developers providing additional support, space and amenities to help residents.
The analysis – a snapshot of data across 10 developments in London covering 1,200 homes — shows that:
Younger renters represent the majority of Build-to-Rent tenants, with 62% between 25 – 34 years of age. This compares to 47% across London’s private rented sector as a whole. 13% are between 35 – 44 — and six percent of tenants are over 45, compared with 11% across the capital’s private rented sector.
Sharers form the most common type of renter with 38%, followed by couples at 33%. This is above the average for London’s private rented sector (26% and 29% respectively). Singles comprise 17% of tenants and families 12%.
Financial services (25%), other service activities such as recruitment consultants, journalists, fitness instructors and photographers (20%), and IT/information and communication, marketing and advertising (15%) are the most common professions, reflective of London’s service-driven economy.
The pandemic has highlighted the urgent need for more housing in London and it is clear that a greater diversity of homes is needed to help the city attract and retain talent. The Build-to-Rent sector which focuses on the construction of high-quality, professionally managed, purpose-built homes for rent, will play a pivotal role in helping to support London’s recovery from Covid.
Commenting, Stephanie Pollitt, Programme Director for Housing at London First, said:
“The pandemic has put the private rented sector under increased scrutiny, but this report shows that well-managed homes, that are high quality and affordable, can increasingly be the reality for Londoners.
“The Build-to-Rent sector has made a strong start in appealing to a wide group of tenants. As it matures, the sector will grow to meet the needs of people throughout the different stages of their lives reinforcing its importance in helping to shape London’s housing future.”
James Simondson, Assistant Director (Housing), British Property Federation, adds:
“A thriving world city needs the dynamism, inventiveness and participation of young workers, and high-quality accommodation that they can call home is fundamental to this. While Build-to-Rent and its market-leading services and facilities are proving extremely popular with great ratings from its residents, the sector is also increasing housing supply, providing stability and choice for renters, and creating and supporting communities.
“Build-to-Rent is helping young Londoners – singles, couples and families – to make their first home, and is set to grow and cater for more people of all ages and walks of life. Providing more homes is essential to London today, and for its future prosperity.”
Dave Butler, CEO, UK Apartment Association notes:
“This document is an important step in telling the Build-to-Rent story and the part it can play in providing homes for Londoners. In particular, the structure of responsible institutional landlords, professional property managers and a high-quality environment demonstrated its strength and ability to support and care for residents during the pandemic.”
Rick de Blaby, CEO, Get Living comments:
“Professionally managed Build-to-Rent accommodation is providing Londoners and those moving into this great city, with great homes and high service, stress-free living, where community and well-being are actively promoted. The supply of bespoke rental homes is increasing all the time, so helping to tackle the capital’s housing challenge. This report reflects what we know about our own residents; that people living in the Build-to-Rent sector are diverse and reflect the wider London rental market.
“2020 has been a difficult year for London and we’ve worked hard to help residents adapt to a new way of living that has seen us all spend more time at home, working, exercising, and trying to remain connected. Our customer-first culture, digital infrastructure and local neighbourhood focus meant we were well prepared, and we have been inspired by the amplified sense of community that has emerged. It’s clear that the Build-to-Rent sector is supporting London’s resilience and will continue to have a strong role to play in enabling people to live fulfilling lives in great homes in the coming years.”
Kurt Mueller, Director of Corporate Affairs at Grainger plc, said:
“Build-to-Rent is often misunderstood as being luxury housing for a high-earning few. This research shows the opposite. People from all types of backgrounds, on a wide range of incomes live in Build-to-Rent rental homes. As we look toward a post-covid economic recovery, the Build-to-Rent sector has a huge role to play, enabling people to find good quality housing, near their places of employment and where business investment is taking place as we emerge post-pandemic. We encourage more local planning authorities to recognise the benefit that Build-to-Rent can bring to their local economies and meet the needs of their local residents.”
Simon Chatfield, Deputy Managing Director at Apo Group, comments:
“At Apo, creating strong, thriving communities is key and understanding who our residents are and what they want is vital in achieving this goal. This research supports our own experience that Build-to-Rent residents come from a wide variety of occupations, ages, and salaries but that, crucially, the high-quality homes, professional management and services that we provide are affordable and value for money for a wide range of renters. It’s this diverse range of residents that helps us to create and curate communities where Londoners want to live.”
Tune in to series one and two of What Next for London? to hear views on London, our Covid-19 recovery and more