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Build-to-rent can play part in housing London’s population – report

Words: Laura Edgar
Build-to-rent / iStock-488120139

Build-to-rent could provide an additional source of high-quality housing to complement that provided by mainstream housebuilders.

London First, a business membership organisation, has teamed up with London Councils, the body representing the 32 boroughs, and the City of London to increase awareness of the capital’s growing build-to-rent sector.

The report, Everything You Need to Know About Build-to-Rent in London, produced by planning consultancy Turley, considers the potential build-to-rent developments have to play a “significant role” in housing London’s growing population.

Statistics from the British Property Federation on build-to-rent in London:

  • 10,313 purpose-built build-to-rent homes have been completed recently
  • 9,445 homes are under construction
  • 27,480 homes have planning permission

Aimed at London councillors and officers who are responsible for key decisions on how the capital increases its housing supply, the report suggests how build-to-rent can provide of housing to “complement” what mainstream housebuilders deliver.

The model, says the report, can bring a number of benefits, including delivering large-scale developments at pace, provide stability and certainty for tenants and potentially a reliable long-term income stream for local authorities with scope for joint ventures and shared rental income.

The report notes that growth in the sector is being supported by changes to public policy made by both central and London government, and how the planning system and housing policy in London are now starting to reflect that build-to-rent is different from for-sale and affordable housing.

The report also provides a borough-by-borough breakdown of current and emerging planning policies, which highlights specifically where in the capital build-to-rent has been identified for support.

Jonathan Seager, executive director of housing policy at London First, said: “London is becoming a city of renters so we must give Londoners a better choice of rented accommodation. Build-to-rent can deliver this by providing stable, long-term investment and high-quality new homes, designed specifically for the rental market. There has already been significant growth in the sector but, with the full support of local authorities, build-to-rent can dramatically boost housebuilding in London.”

Sir Steve Bullock, London Councils’ executive member for housing, said that London boroughs recognise that enabling the development of build-to-rent housing is “vital” to solving London’s housing crisis.

“As the number of Londoners living in private rented accommodation is increasing, delivering high-quality housing built specifically for renting at scale and pace will meet the growing demand for this type of accommodation as well as improving standards in the private rented sector.”

Sarah Bevan, director at Turley, referred to Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s Affordable Housing and Viability Supplementary Planning Guidance, saying it looks to building on the momentum of this “growing sector”.

“We urge the London boroughs to continue this impetus through the adoption of bespoke local plan policies that support the sector and encourage long-term investment to help widen housing choice and improve affordability within their boroughs.”

Everything you need to know about build-to-rent in London can be found on the London First website (pdf).

Image credit | iStock