British Property Federation: Majority of MPs back growing ‘build-to-rent’ housing sector

11 May 2018

Policy area: Residential

  • The total number of build-to-rent homes complete, under construction and in planning across the UK has increased by 30 per cent in the past year
  • The build-to-rent sector has committed to offering long-term ‘family-friendly’ tenancies, such as for three years, to give customers additional security when renting

The British Property Federation (BPF) publishes today research that shows three quarters (75 per cent) of MPs support build-to-rent and its contribution to UK housing supply.

The research, undertaken by ComRes on behalf of the BPF, also highlights that the majority of Conservative and Labour MPs believe build-to-rent will make a higher contribution, than it currently does, to housing supply over the next five years.

Build-to-rent was the only housing option tested in the research that secured this confidence from a majority of MPs from both major parties:

The proportion of MPs who think build-to-rent will make a higher contribution, than it currently does, to housing supply over the next five years continues to rise. Seven in ten MPs (72 per cent) now report this, the highest among all forms of housing tested in the survey – and this has increased year on year since testing began (62 per cent in 2016 and 66 per cent in 2017).

While the cross-party support is positive news for the build-to-rent sector, support specifically among Labour MPs has fallen from 74 per cent in 2017 to 67 per cent in 2018.

Ian Fletcher, Director of Real Estate Policy, British Property Federation comments:

“Cross-party support for build-to-rent is welcome, particularly as the growing sector has only begun to demonstrate its potential contribution to tackling the UK’s housing crisis.

“It’s truly significant that a higher proportion of MPs from both major parties are more confident in the sector’s capacity to grow the size of its contribution to housing supply, outstripping levels of confidence reported in any other housing sector. Hopefully, this is recognition of the sector’s investment, which is delivering new homes in many of their constituencies.

“The sector has been growing over the past five years without any form of planning blueprint from government, but this is now changing. The government’s recently revised National Planning Policy Framework now ensures local authorities across the country will identify their local rental housing need and it explains how to treat a planning application from the build-to-rent sector.”

Separate research from the BPF and Savills, published last month, shows the total number of build-to-rent homes complete, under construction and in planning across the UK has increased by 30 per cent in the past year.

In the UK there are now 117,893 build-to-rent homes – new, high-quality and professionally-managed homes built for renters – across all stages of the development lifecycle, compared to the total of 90,761 homes at the end of Q1 2017.

When looking specifically at the number of completed build-to-rent homes, the total has increased by 45 per cent, growing from 14,371 to 20,863, in the same period.

The build-to-rent sector can revolutionise the rental market in the UK. The government has called for the entire private rental sector to provide longer-term ‘family-friendly’ tenancies, but the build-to-rent sector has already committed to offering this security to those customers who want it – this is the sector’s promise to ensure more predictability and security when renting.

The build-to-rent sector is funded and managed by investors who require long-term rental growth for pensioners’ savings, which means its business model is fundamentally dependent on ensuring its customers’ experience of renting is an enjoyable one, and the sector becomes one in which customers are happy to stay if they wish.