£20bn to be invested in Build to Rent schemes over next decade

A new Savills report reveals that over the next decade, £20bn will be invested into operational Build to Rent schemes.

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According to global real estate advisor Savills’ latest report on the UK Build to Rent sector, the past decade has seen £35bn of institutional investment go into the delivery of 100,000 Build to Rent homes, made up of 542 apartment schemes that are all let and managed by professional operators.

However, Savills warns that a total of £300bn is needed to meet the future household growth requirements, of an additional million homes in the private rented sector (PRS) by 2031.

Over the past decade, the primary route to market for investors has been through development. This is evidenced by the data which identifies that of the c. £20bn invested between 2018 and 2023, just over a fifth has been deployed to purchase fully let operational stock.

However, more opportunities to buy stabilised schemes will arise. Savills anticipates that between 2024 and 2028, investment into operational assets will take up a 25% share of total investment, rising to 30% between 2029 and 2033. This means that over the next decade, £20bn will be deployed into the operational Build to Rent market.

“The Build to Rent market has made significant progress over the last ten years. Although the sector is emerging as mainstream investment in the UK, it still represents just 2% of private rented sector households.

“When we look at more established markets such as Germany and the USA, where institutions own 41% and 37% of homes respectively, it’s clear that there is significant growth potential of the UK Build to Rent market. Should the UK adopt a similar level of institutional ownership, institutions would own between 2.1 and 2.4 million PRS homes compared to just 100,000 today.

“As the sector continues to grow, there are numerous opportunities for investors to achieve similar large-scale portfolios as those in more mature markets.”

Piers de Winton, Head of National Residential Investment & Single Family, Operational Capital Markets, Savills

Q1 2024 saw the highest proportion of investment into operational schemes in any quarter since 2015, with 60% of Build to Rent investment into operational assets and 40% into funding development.

Operational Build to Rent is now spread across 100 local authorities, including every London borough. Savills’ report found that London and the Core Cities – Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield – contain most of the Build to Rent apartment schemes.

Savills estimates that the combined value of stabilised operational assets is £35bn, based on the capitalised income of rents on the schemes. This amounts to £23bn in London and a further £12bn outside the capital.

The research also shows that there are 110,000 homes in the Build to Rent planning pipeline – the largest pipeline to date. This indicates that the sector will start to grow more quickly than previously. If it grows like the student sector, Savills highlights that it will start to double in size every couple of years.

“Build to Rent continues to create additional rented homes and today, 542 apartment schemes are in operation, spread across a quarter of UK local authorities. Since 2018, 64% of schemes have been purpose-built for rental, which indicates that investors are getting involved much earlier in funding these schemes and ensuring they are designed to meet the needs of modern renters.

“It is also important to note that 50% of Build to Rent in 2023 was from new entrants to the market, up from 20% in 2018 which shows how the investor profile is changing as the market matures, therefore attracting a wider pool of Global capital.”

Guy Whittaker, Head of UK Build to Rent research, Savills