New report proves Build to Rent is affordable

Data has been captured in the largest ever resident analysis, proving Build to Rent is an affordable option.

Family at Quintain Living, which is highlighted in a new report showing Build to Rent is affordable - BPF | BTR News
Loide & Joao Azinheiro and their son Benjamin live at Canada Gardens, Quintain Living.

The largest ever analysis of Build to Rent occupancy in England highlights that the sector is home to a diverse range of residents – and contributes to the housing need in both urban and suburban areas. The report also dispels the perception that it is unaffordable.

The second report – Who Lives in Build to Rent? – is a collaborative report from the British Property Federation (BPF), Dataloft, London First and the UKAA. It analysed 89 schemes in England totalling over 20,000 residents in over 15,000 homes. The urban component of the data, constituting 15,887 residents, 12,404 homes across 49 schemes was benchmarked with tenants in the PRS, finding that it has a similar resident profile across income, profession, age and affordability. 

“This research shows that the Build to Rent sector is providing options for renters who already live in the wider private rental sector. PRS vs Build to Rent is not a binary ‘them and us’ and this kind of data sharing initiative is key to understanding the whole rental ecosystem.”

Sandra Jones, Managing Director, Dataloft

What was shown is that residents’ incomes are broadly similar to those in the PRS – and in the urban sample, 32% of residents earn between £19-32k per year and in the PRS it is 37%.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) considers housing to be affordable if tenants spend 30% of their income on rent. The monthly rental costs for couples and sharers living in Build to Rent are 30%, aligning with the ONS’ affordability benchmark, compared to 33% of monthly income in the wider PRS. For single renters, the average is fractionally more affordable than the PRS at 32% of monthly income vs 33%.

Build to Rent provides more than a home for the monthly cost – 78% of schemes in the urban data had a roof terrace or shared garden, 73% have a concierge, 73% have social events, 69% have parcel acceptance and storage and 61% have a co-working space.

“Build to Rent developments have shown that they are an important part of the overall housing mix in England, their diversity of which reflects the needs of those that choose to rent there. With a variety of amenities included in their monthly rent, Build to Rent not only gives residents more bang for their buck, but also provides a unique and flexible renting experience, something which will continue to be reinforced as the sector matures.”

Stephanie Pollitt, Programme Director (Housing), London First

Across the urban data, one in five renters (18%) in Build to Rent are public sector workers, providing affordable and secure homes for key workers in the capital and across England’s cities and town centres. Both sectors house similar numbers of creatives, tech professionals and leisure workers.

“Build to Rent homes – high-quality, professionally managed, purpose-built homes for private rent – are being taken up by a diverse range of people across England. Our report shows that residents in Build to Rent are much more representative of the wider PRS than is often perceived – with one in five residents employed in the public sector and broad similarities across age, income and affordability.

“What’s more, Build to Rent is delivering homes in the cities that government has identified for additional housing delivery. It is of paramount importance that the UK seeks to address the housing crisis by building a range of different properties and tenures to suit everyone’s needs.”

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

Residents’ Affordability – Build to Rent (Urban) vs PRS (% of income spent on rent)

 BTR (urban)PRS

Over four in ten residents in both sectors are 25-34 years old, the most common age band. However Build to Rent is catering to other parts of the market – with one in ten residents aged over 45. The sector is also evolving to suit the needs of different types of renters. The emergence of Suburban Build to Rent – high-quality, professionally managed homes located in suburban and peri-urban areas – is providing affordable and attractive housing for all, but particularly families, who represent 43% of the suburban sample in the report.

“The 2021 Who Lives in Build-to-Rent? report clearly demonstrates the continued growth and evolution of the sector as a real choice for quality housing. In particular the emergence of suburban Build to Rent is adding to accessibility for an increasing range of residents, including families with children who are looking for affordable homes that offer long-term security in professionally managed communities.”

Dave Butler, CEO, UK Apartment Association

Build to Rent is growing rapidly across the UK. Over 140,000 homes are currently under construction or in planning. The majority of homes (81%) are in the 20 cities where Government has increased housing targets, highlighting the critical role these homes have in meeting national housing targets.