Budget 2021: The Build to Rent industry’s reactions

The Build to Rent industry’s reactions to the 2021 budget set out today by the Chancellor.

London skyline from the air. Budget 2021 | BTR News

Updated: 8 March 2021

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak set out the 2021 budget this afternoon (3 March 2021). We’ve collated the Build to Rent industry’s reactions and comments to the announcement.

Peter Sloane, Chair, Love to Rent

“The Chancellors announcement in today’s budget is great news, helping generation buy to get on the property ladder. The Build to Rent sector continues to experience unprecedented growth and investment, being an increasing lifestyle choice for millions of people, which is extending from city centre apartments to include family homes. There is room for both markets, and it must now be time for a Minister to look after renting.”  

Harry Downes, Managing Director, Fizzy Living

“Today’s mortgage guarantee and stamp duty extension shows that the government is still focused on home buyers rather than making the rental experience better. Housebuilding has flourished since measures such as Help to Buy were introduced with buyers given increasing incentive and support.

“Based on current trends, renters will overtake buyers within the next few years and they deserve to have a home to live in – not just a house. I would have liked to see increased support for the institutional/professional Build to Rent sector. It is now an established part of the residential market and if offered similar incentives such as expedited planning and licensing processes, will shape the future of renting in the UK.

“Renters rent for a myriad of reasons and it’s time the government gave this group the same attention, focus and benefits that have been historically offered to homeowners.”

David Ronson, Sales & Marketing Director, AVANTON 

“AVANTON is delighted about the extension of the Stamp Duty holiday which will helped to drive sales across London and at our flagship CODA apartment development. This year, 40% of our private sale units have been triggered thanks to the Stamp Duty holiday, so it’s a good boost for the market. We are also interested to see the announced details of the Government backed 95% guaranteed loan-to-value mortgages. Whilst we believe it will drive the sales market, it will not impact on the Build to Rent sector as the target occupiers are distinctly different.”  

 “Whilst the budget targeted the build-to-sell market, we believe that the Build to Rent market still has substantial growth, as young renters want to be able to have flexibility on where they live, and their rental payments, until they decide where they want to live long term.”  

Ged McPartlin, Managing Director, Ascend Properties

“There were scant initiatives for arguably the most important new build sector given that renting is becoming more popular than ownership in many areas. Housing shortages affect rental stock, not just resale homes, and thus it would have been fitting today to provide focus and funding for the housebuilding sector. Perhaps even the beginnings of some tax-breaks for those that are providing high-quality long-term rental homes for our future generations. Without such, are we to be convinced that government is taking housing seriously enough?” 

Phillip Slavin, CFO, Quintain

“The Chancellor’s latest Covid budget is understandably focused on promoting recovery whilst remaining cognisant of high public borrowing levels. It is a budget for 12 months not 5 years, and that is probably the right approach with the end of the pandemic in sight, but still a way away.

“The additional support for hospitality and retail with the extended furlough scheme and VAT rate cuts is crucial to support those businesses which create thriving, diverse communities. However, the Chancellor has only extended the business rates holiday until June, we continue to support the British Property Federation in their call for a full year extension – and a new business rates regime in the autumn which fixes a broken system.”

Richard Simpson, Chief Executive, Watkin Jones 

“The Government’s focus on revitalising high streets following the pandemic is very welcome, but their recovery will require more than a short-term boost and drive for home ownership. For towns and cities to thrive, they will have to offer a diverse and adaptable retail, social and living experience that recognises the cultural changes over the last 30 years.

“Levelling up sustainable urban centres can only be achieved with more balanced rhetoric that recognises and encourages high-quality rental homes as part of the UK’s housing culture. By supporting Build to Rent as a mainstream housing choice, government can attract the long-term institutional investment and thinking to maintain high streets as attractive places to live and visit through the recovery and beyond.”

Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Housing Hand

“The Build to Rent sector saw little support from the budget; the government seems to be hell bent on house-buying rather than tenants renting. The quickest way to help with the supply and demand problems for housing is the Build to Rent sector. Yet although there is a clear benefit to the housing problem, the sector isn’t receiving support.

“The market is quite able to support many different options: rent, own, buy to rent, rent to rent and just buy. The best solution is to help all sectors and let the market decide where they wish to live, and investors where they want to invest.”

Asaf Navot, Founder, Home Made

“This is a budget that reflects the government’s myopic ideological commitment to boosting homeownership without consideration for the housing sector as a whole. Anyone who wants to own a home should have the option to do so, and government-backed 95% LTV mortgages and a tapered extension of SDLT relief should see more first-time buyers joining the property ladder. However, there are hundreds of thousands of tenants in the UK currently in rent arrears due to Covid-19 in need of assistance.

“While the extension of the furlough scheme, cuts to VAT, and relief for the retail and hospitality industries will provide welcome relief for employers and vital support for renters, there will be ongoing issues with affordability in the PRS. Many Build to Rent scheme operators are currently working hard to assist residents struggling with financial hardship through rent deferrals and cancellations. However, institutional landlords cannot assume the burden of rental debt on behalf of their residents indefinitely without further support. 

“In the medium term, operators need to plan for lower profits following the announcement of the scheduled increase to corporation tax and may need to look at streamlining operations and for alternative strategies to boost ERVs. Nevertheless, there are potentially attractive opportunities to acquire new assets while the sales market remains highly active ahead of the SDLT increase. Now could be a great time for capital investment by developers looking to expand their portfolio.”

Samantha Kempe, Co-Founder, IMMO Capital

“We were interested to see the Government’s focus in the budget on the extension of the Stamp Duty Holiday and the mortgage guarantee. Whilst we believe that these are important and positive factors in this budget, we believe that we must not forget the rental market. Both of these government initiatives will serve to drive house price inflation, which in turn will mean that it is increasingly important to ensure that there is access to high quality, and affordable, rental homes for the wider demographic, who cannot or choose not to buy a home.”