MPs poll shows cross-party support for emerging build to rent sector and predictions for growth

9 Mar 2016

Policy area: Residential

  • Four in five MPs say they support the build to rent sector and the contribution it makes to UK housing supply (81%)
  • Build to rent has cross-party support, with the majority of Labour (71%) and Conservative (91%) MPs supportive of the sector
  • Three in five MPs (62%) think it will make a higher contribution to housing supply over the next five years, compared to current levels
  • This is almost as high as homes for owner-occupation (67%), but exceeds shared ownership (56%), social housing/affordable renting (39%) and buy-to-let (27%) 

A new poll of 150 MPs has shown that there is overwhelming cross-party support for the build to rent sector and its contribution to housing supply.

The poll, commissioned from ComRes by the British Property Federation (BPF), shows that four in five (81%) cross-party MPs support the sector; 91% Conservative MPs and 71% Labour MPs. 

The results also show that the build to rent sector is expected to make a significantly higher contribution to UK housing supply than it does at the moment, with 62% of MPs saying they think it will make a higher contribution over the next five years, and 67% of MPs expecting a higher contribution from homes for owner-occupation to UK housing supply over the next five years, compared to current levels.

Few MPs think buy to let property will make a higher contribution to housing supply over the next five years, with just over a quarter (27%) expecting its contribution to be higher, compared to 41% who expect it to be lower. 

MPs were somewhat split on social housing and affordable rent, with a quarter of MPs (26%) expecting to see a lower contribution  of social housing and affordable renting, compared to 39% who expect to see a higher contribution over the next five years. The results showed that new MPs are more likely to see this sector as a growth area than long-serving MPs (46%* v 37%). 

The BPF estimates that there is at least £30bn investment ready to enter the build to rent sector, and that it has the potential to deliver significant amounts of additional housing across the UK.

The most recent figures from the BPF’s Build to Rent Map show that there are over 37,500 build to rent units with planning permission, under construction or complete across the UK. Most development is concentrated in the capital, where there is more than 20,000 units. 

Ian Fletcher, director of policy (real estate), at the British Property Federation, said: “The widespread recognition amongst MPs of the build to rent sector is a positive sign it is starting to enter the nation’s housing vocabulary. It is also heartening that whilst all political parties are pushing a home-ownership agenda, there is recognition amongst MPs that housing supply will come in other welcome forms and our nation requires that if we to get anywhere close to meeting demand. This is not a zero-sum game, where tenures are competing, but a quest to deliver far more homes, where it is imperative that other forms of tenures are also encouraged.”


Notes to editors


ComRes surveyed 150 MPs online and by paper self-completion questionnaire between 13th January - 23rd February 2016. Data have been weighted by party and region to be representative of the House of Commons. Full data tables can be found on the ComRes website. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council (BPC) and abides by its rules.

ComRes interviewed 56 Conservative MPs, 68 Labour MPs,18 SNP MPs and eight MPs from other parties. Due to the low base size of SNP MPs and other specific categories, results referring to these groups should be treated as indicative rather than representative. With a sample size of 150 MPs, the margin of error on results at a 95% confidence level is ± 7.02. Differences of less that this should be treated as indicative.