09 Feb 2021 | Build-to-rent | Residential

So, who else lives in Build to Rent?

Last week, the BPF alongside London First and UK Apartment Association released our report examining a sample study of 1699 residents across 10 Build to Rent developments in London.

A small sample but a great start, showing that 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.

Perhaps most notable of the findings, Build to Rent is housing hard-working Londoners of all ages and professions, many on middle incomes and with 43 per cent of residents earning under £32,000 a year. A further key finding is that residents in the Build to Rent sample experience comparable levels of affordability to the wider private rented sector (PRS) and notably better levels of affordability for sharers and couples.

The report also presents opportunities for the Build to Rent sector to further diversify its offering in London. Attracting families to Build to Rent in London, as well as providing a more affordable offering for them, and single occupants, could be areas of focus for the sector going forward. Of course, the sample’s location – London, predominantly inner areas, could be skewing the sample in a way that might underrepresent families and present affordability challenges for singles – but more on that later.

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.

All that Build to Rent is doing, of course, does not just apply to London. In fact, a slight majority of completed Build to Rent units (27,125 compared to 26,625) are located outside of the capital – and the regions account for a much larger portion of the Build to Rent pipeline, with 51,761 units in planning compared to London’s 37,274.[1]

And this is where the need for additional evidence comes in. Build to Rent is, quite clearly, playing a multi-faceted role in providing a housing solution across the country. We need to delve deeper into who lives in Build to Rent in the regions, as well as London. The data, whatever it might present, will help the industry learn and refine its offering to the public.

The data will also help the Build to Rent sector prove itself to policymakers and politicians alike. Having to prove oneself is inevitable as an emerging industry. But Build to Rent has a purpose – and a key role in efforts to abate two of the biggest challenges we face right now – recovery from Covid-19, and the housing crisis.

So, as the dust settles after the release of our first iteration of ‘Who Lives in Build to Rent?’, we will be turning our attention to a bigger, broader version – a 2.0, if you will, that provides a bigger sample size across the country. We hope to gain participation from more Build to Rent providers across the country to answer the question: so, who else lives in Build to Rent?


[1] Savils/BPF Quarterly Statistics on Build to Rent – Q4 2020

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James Simondson Assistant Director (Housing)