UK regions see build-to-rent activity surge by 400%

UK regions see build-to-rent activity surge by 400%

The build-to-rent sector could be the answer for thousands of households who choose to rent in regional cities across the UK.


  • The popularity of the private rented sector in the UK has seen a surge in the number of build-to-rent developments across the country
  • Across the UK regional cities in particular have seen build-to-rent units grow exponentially as undersupply in key major cities drives demand
  • The British Property Federation believes clearer national planning policy and removing stamp duty for build-to-rent will boost the sector

UK regions have seen build-to-rent developments increase by almost 400%, from 7,000 units in October 2015 to over 34,000 a year on.

Manchester has welcomed build-to-rent developments as a solution to the city’s continued undersupply of rental properties. Some 4,000 new units are needed per year to meet demand and only 1,400 are currently set for delivery over the next eight years.

Although it said the figures were encouraging, the British Property Federation (BPF) added that the build-to-rent sector could be delivering even more homes with government support.

With Knight Frank estimating a potential £50 billion worth of investment to be directed at the sector, investors are turning to build-to-rent for a stable income that will be relatively unaffected by any Brexit market turbulence.

The changes the BPF has proposed to help encourage further build-to-rent developments include removing the stamp duty land tax (SDLT) surcharge on additional homes at the Autumn Statement, which it says would “provide a shot in the arm to the sector”.

The BPF also wants clearer national planning policy for build-to-rent developments, and for the government to allow flexibility on space standards by up to 10%.

Melanie Leech, BPF chief executive, said: “The build-to-rent sector has been one of the good news stories of the housing market over the past few years and it is great to see quality rental homes now coming on to the market at scale.”

With completion of new housing units running at around half the level needed to meet demand, there is an ongoing shortage of housing in many areas of the UK. The government is targeting a million new homes by 2020 and recently unveiled a £5 billion package of financial support for housebuilders to encourage increased development into the sector.

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