18/03/2019

Why Build-to-Rent offers a flexible and sensible solution to the UK’s Housing Crisis

Why Build-to-Rent offers a flexible and sensible solution to the UK’s Housing Crisis
Delegates at MIPIM panel

Land Director, James Mulcare joined property professionals in the Midlands UK pavilion at MIPIM to discuss important housing issues including Build to Rent.

You are unlikely to find a property expert who disagrees that the UK is embroiled in a housing crisis.

As the population of the country continues to increase, demand for housing is higher than ever before, causing the cost of buying to skyrocket.

This rise in cost has driven people into the Private Rented Sector [PRS], which has more than doubled in size in the last two decades.

With a lack of affordable housing to go around, build to rent (BTR) is becoming an attractive option, catering for those who are hurt by the rising buying costs, whilst providing a smart alternative that is both affordable and more suited to their needs.

But as a growing and diverse solution, what exactly should Property Developers consider when constructing new BTR schemes?

The dedicated panel discussion, ‘Residential: Making Alternative Housing a Mainstream Solution’as part of the Midlands MIPIM event schedule, outlined the following as key for success:

One size does not fit all

In order to attract residents to BTR properties, property and housing developers need to lose the one size fits all approach.

At Godwin, we aren’t traditional developers in that we will build the same houses or product. We understand that the new generation seeks a wide range of products that they are not getting from the cookie cutter housing model.

For BTR schemes to be successful, market research must inform of different elements that outline their goal. These includethe market’s needs, population data and potential customer profiling, whilst incorporating the potential for multi-generational living.

While BTR can offer a clear solution to the housing crisis, developments should be inspired by residents wants and needs. The Private Rented Sector is diverse, and properties need to be developed with this in mind.

Speed of delivery is vital – but so is design

With the housing crisis comes an immediate demand for BTR schemes, and quickly. However, the famous phrase, more haste – less speed, comes to mind, where although speed of delivery is vital, getting the design and the product right is more important.

Why? Where BTR schemes offer flexibility for the young professional who may accelerate into a new career in a new location every 2-3 years, it also provides the opportunity for all demographics – from young families through to retired couples – to live in desirable locations, which they otherwise may not have been able to afford. Getting the BTR design right is, therefore, crucial to ensure consistent appeal to residents from all age groups.

Customers have replaced Tenants

Customer has replaced the word ‘Tenant’ in the PRS sector, where developers are now working hard to build desirable BTR schemes that are bespoke and high-quality, compared to the unreliable, individual private landlord.

This approach not only attracts longer-term rentals, which are better for the industry, but it enables the development of a long-term vibrant and stable community.

Many people want to live in a certain area for a wide variety of different needs, but due to the rising costs of purchasing a property are not able to.

The panel showcased resounding agreement of the growing benefits of BTR as a solution for the housing crisis – allowing, for example, for young professionals not to be tied down to property to pursue new opportunities as and when they arise, while families have the luxury of living in a more suitable area for their children even if they do not have the funds to buy.

Overall, it’s clear that BTR offers a flexible and sensible solution to the UK’s housing crisis. Getting it right, and understanding the needs and requirements of the customer, however, is key to success.