Analysis by the British Property Federation (BPF) shows that the build-to-rent (BTR) sector continues to be booming, with activity and opportunities growing strongly.
The BTR pipeline grew by 8% in 2021 with construction in regional cities significantly outpacing London.
The quarterly research, which is undertaken in partnership with estate agent Savills, indicates that there are now 70,785 completed BTR units in the UK, a 26% increase year-on-year, with a further 141,215 under construction or at the planning stage, up from 131,190 in 2020.
At the end of 2021 there were 26,820 units under construction across regional cities, marking a 27% increase year-on-year. Over the course of 2021 construction started on 13,527 units across regional cities – more than three times the number in London.
Further evidence of the BTR boom comes from the results of Watkin Jones, out today. Watkin Jones specialises in developing and constructing multi-occupancy buildings – purpose built student accommodation, and built-to-rent apartment blocks. Its 2021 revenue was up 21% at £430.2m due to mainly to BTR growth, it said. Pre-tax profit doubled to £51.1m.
Ian Fletcher, director of real estate policy at the British Property Federation, said: “The build-to-rent sector continues to expand rapidly and in 2021 we started to see signs that delivery across the regions is beginning to outpace London.
“Build-to-rent is not just about increasing housing provision it is a major economic driver, helping attract and retain skilled workers and serving as a catalyst for urban regeneration. The strong growth of the build-to-rent sector across the regions will support the government’s levelling up initiative and help revitalise town and city centres.”
Savills residential research director Jacqui Daly added: “The geographic spread of build-to-rent shows that many more local authorities are beginning to understand the need for new rental stock and planning consents are rising as a consequence. At the same time, the build-to-rent is becoming hugely competitive for investors, with a record level of capital deployed in the sector in 2021. If investors are able to find markets and stock to invest in, we expect delivery in the sector to double in size within a few years.”