Build to Rent attracts London’s diverse population

A snapshot analysis of 10 Build to Rent developments across London indicates that homes are being taken up by a diverse range of tenants.

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A report – Who lives in Build to Rent? – by London First, British Property Federation and UKAA suggests that Build to Rent schemes in the capital are attracting a variety of tenants – through a combination of high-quality homes, predictable rents and world-class communal spaces and services, with the sector becoming an increasingly important part of London’s housing market. 

“The pandemic has put the private rented sector under increased scrutiny, but this report shows that well-managed homes, that are high quality and affordable, can increasingly be the reality for Londoners. 

“The Build to Rent sector has made a strong start in appealing to a wide group of tenants. As it matures, the sector will grow to meet the needs of people throughout the different stages of their lives – reinforcing its importance in helping to shape London’s housing future.”

Stephanie Pollitt, Programme Director for Housing, London First

Data from the report shows that the Build to Rent sector is housing hard-working Londoners on middle incomes, with 29% of those sampled earning between £32,000 to £47,000 – which is only marginally higher than across the whole private rented sector (24%). 43% of Build to Rent residents earn less than £32,000 per year in comparison to the average income of £43,400 for Londoners. 

“Build to Rent is often misunderstood as being luxury housing for a high-earning few. This research shows the opposite. People from all types of backgrounds, on a wide range of incomes live in Build to Rent rental homes. 

“As we look toward a post-covid economic recovery, the Build to Rent sector has a huge role to play, enabling people to find good quality housing, near their places of employment and where business investment is taking place as we emerge post-pandemic. We encourage more local planning authorities to recognise the benefit that Build to Rent can bring to their local economies and meet the needs of their local residents.”

Kurt Mueller, Director of Corporate Affairs, Grainger plc

Case studies also reveal that a strong sense of community has developed following the pandemic, with Build to Rent developers providing additional support, space and amenities to help residents.

“At Apo, creating strong, thriving communities is key and understanding who our residents are and what they want is vital in achieving this goal. This research supports our own experience that Build to Rent residents come from a wide variety of occupations, ages and salaries but that, crucially, the high-quality homes, professional management and services that we provide are affordable and value for money for a wide range of renters. It’s this diverse range of residents that helps us to create and curate communities where Londoners want to live.”

Simon Chatfield, Deputy Managing Director, Apo Group

The analysis – a snapshot of data across 10 developments in London covering 1,200 homes – shows that:

  • Younger renters represent the majority of Build to Rent residents, with 62% between 25-34 years of age. This compares to 47% across London’s private rented sector as a whole. 13% are between 35-44 and six percent are over 45, compared with 11% across the capital’s private rented sector.
  • Sharers form the most common type of renter with 38%, followed by couples at 33%. This is above the average for London’s private rented sector (26% and 29% respectively). Singles comprise 17% of residents and 12% families.
  • Financial services (25%), other service activities such as recruitment consultants, journalists, fitness instructors and photographers (20%), and IT/information and communication, marketing and advertising (15%) are the most common professions, reflective of London’s service-driven economy.

“A thriving world city needs the dynamism, inventiveness and participation of young workers, and high-quality accommodation that they can call home is fundamental to this. While Build to Rent and its market-leading services and facilities are proving extremely popular with great ratings from its residents, the sector is also increasing housing supply, providing stability and choice for renters, and creating and supporting communities. 

“Build to Rent is helping young Londoners – singles, couples and families – to make their first home, and is set to grow and cater for more people of all ages and walks of life. Providing more homes is essential to London today, and for its future prosperity.”

James Simondson, Assistant Director (Housing), British Property Federation

The pandemic has highlighted the urgent need for more housing in London –  with a greater diversity of homes required to help the city attract and retain talent. The Build to Rent sector will play a pivotal role in helping to support London’s recovery from Covid-19. 

“Professionally managed Build to Rent accommodation is providing Londoners and those moving into this great city, with great homes and high service, stress-free living, where community and wellbeing are actively promoted. The supply of bespoke rental homes is increasing all the time, so helping to tackle the capital’s housing challenge. This report reflects what we know about our own residents; that people living in the Build to Rent sector are diverse and reflect the wider London rental market.

“2020 has been a difficult year for London and we’ve worked hard to help residents adapt to a new way of living that has seen us all spend more time at home, working, exercising and trying to remain connected. Our customer-first culture, digital infrastructure and local neighbourhood focus meant we were well prepared, and we have been inspired by the amplified sense of community that has emerged. It’s clear that the Build to Rent sector is supporting London’s resilience and will continue to have a strong role to play in enabling people to live fulfilling lives in great homes in the coming years.”

Rick de Blaby, CEO, Get Living

“This document is an important step in telling the Build to Rent story and the part it can play in providing homes for Londoners. In particular, the structure of responsible institutional landlords, professional property managers and a high-quality environment demonstrated its strength and ability to support and care for residents during the pandemic.” 

Dave Butler, CEO, UKAA