Industry views ahead of this year’s Movers & Shakers BTR Forum

Ahead of the Build to Rent Forum on 5 October 2023, some industry leaders share their thoughts and insights about the sector and the event.

The theme of this year's Movers & Shakers Build to Rent Forum will be 'Build to Rent – The Next Decade: Navigating the future of rented living' | BTR News
The theme of this year's Movers & Shakers Build to Rent Forum will be 'Build to Rent – The Next Decade: Navigating the future of rented living.’

Movers & Shakers presents The Build to Rent  Forum, the UK’s leading Build to Rent Conference. Now in its ninth year, the highly successful and annual sell-out event is a full day, content driven conference. 

With a focus on what the future holds for the sector, this month’s conference will revolve around the theme of ‘Build to Rent – The Next Decade: Navigating the future of rented living.’

Encouraging and including discussions around what the next ten years will look like for Build to Rent and rented living in the UK, the forum will also look at how Build to Rent can continue to grow on its path of progression.

Some of the industry’s key leaders have spoken out about the sector, the upcoming conference and the important role it plays within the sector:

Rick de Blaby, CEO, Get Living

What do you think are biggest challenges that are limiting the growth of Build to Rent?

In the short term, we face challenges around the viability of getting projects delivered at scale that will genuinely start to make an impact in improving supply. In the medium term, there is a risk that over-regulation starts to restrict access to the global capital that is required to support the growth of the BtR sector, which is set to benefit residents, improve mobility, and drive wider growth and prosperity.

What are the biggest changes you expect to see in Build to Rent in the next ten years?

Over the next decade, I expect to see the emergence of a handful of large-scale Build to Rent platforms that can deliver choice, value, and community for residents, wrapped in a proposition that exemplifies strong economic, environment and social value.

What do you like most about the Build to Rent Forum?

The Movers & Shakers Build to Rent Forum is a key event in the Build to Rent calendar, bringing together companies, individuals and speakers that represent every aspect of the sector. With an agenda that gets to the root of the big challenges and opportunities facing Build to Rent, it’s always an insightful and interesting day.

Rebecca Taylor, Managing Director of BTR, Long Harbour

What do you think are biggest challenges that are limiting the growth of Build to Rent?

Access to land and the planning landscape. Build to Rent competes for land not just with housebuilders for sale, but in particular student accommodation, co-living and more recently industrial. Whilst they all play a part it always comes down to the highest price for the landowner.

With new building regulations and lack of clarity on the second means of escape, many landowners and developers are looking to higher density schemes like student and co-living to justify land pricing. This doesn’t always match the demand or deliver the quality that a specific market requires. Planning isn’t always the problem and looking to those markets that embrace Build to Rent and the NPPF’s policy delivery is thriving, this is particularly evident in the Midlands and Northern markets.  But we see other areas fall well behind targets and in particular London. Whilst this was leading in Build to Rent delivery in the first ten years of the sector, we have seen consents down across the board more recently and this is likely to continue in the future.

What are the biggest changes you expect to see in Build to Rent in the next ten years?

The challenges facing the Build to Rent market are those facing the property and housing markets in general:

  • Planning.
  • Lack of understanding on the affordable housing models unique to Build to Rent.
  • Construction costs hindered but limited labour force and innovation.
  • Conflicting design requirements: as custodians of our residents our focus is on their health, safety and wellbeing. We are motivated by them to deliver safer, better quality homes. But lack of detail of the second stair, density limitations of LHDG, and new building regulations are impacting viability.
  • Cost of debt.
  • Inflationary market impacting cost of operations and construction.
  • View of UK on a global scale and ability to compete for capital on an international basis.
  • Softening yields and valuations.

James Pargeter, Senior Advisor, Global Apartment Advisors (GAA)

What do you think are biggest challenges that are limiting the growth of Build to Rent?

I believe the biggest challenge that the Build to Rent sector still faces is one of cultural and political change around renting. This is happening, but still far too slowly to allow widespread political acceptance of why more additional quality rental homes are needed, alongside traditional tenures of homeownership and affordable housing.

What are the biggest changes you expect to see in Build to Rent in the next ten years?

Whether we like it or not, Build to Rent has attracted a degree of misunderstanding about its purpose and the needs it serves. This is an obstacle we could do without. Many of us are engaged in addressing these myths, with the ambition to allow a more diverse range of purpose-built rental options for people over the next ten years. This will involve flexibility from Build to Rent organisations, policymakers and local planning authorities, but I believe we can collaborate to help address the shortage of reliable quality rental homes across the country.

What do you like most about the Build to Rent Forum?

For anyone involved in the UK Build to Rent sector, the Build to Rent Forum is the must-attend event of the year. It regularly combines top-quality and thoughtful insights with excellent networking – a crucial annual touchpoint for us all!