Placefirst and YouGov research reveals SFH BTR popular among councillors

New Placefirst and YouGov polling reveals councillors’ strong appetite for single-family Build to Rent homes and brownfield redevelopment.

Placefirst's Benwell Dene neighbourhood | BTR News
Placefirst's Benwell Dene neighbourhood.

New research from YouGov, conducted on behalf of Build to Rent developer Placefirst, has revealed that for the first-time, a growing appetite among councillors for single-family rental homes and brownfield redevelopment. A significant 54% of councillors expressed their preference for larger family homes over one and two-bedroom apartments within their local authorities. 57% of councillors now recognise the concept of Build to Rent, marking a significant shift in momentum and understanding of this housing solution.

The research, which polled over 570 councillors in local authorities based outside of London, also found a compelling insight into the perception of Build to Rent properties. The Build to Rent model was acknowledged by a significant majority of these councillors. Among the councillors surveyed, 56% think Build to Rent developers are most likely to build flats or apartments.

“We are witnessing a critical juncture in the housing crisis, where the need for single-family Build to Rent homes, designed specifically for long-term rent and professionally managed, has never been more pronounced. Build to Rent can play a crucial role in addressing this challenge by offering families quality, energy-efficient, and spacious rental options. By prioritising the development of semi-detached houses and other family-friendly housing types, we can create thriving communities that cater to the needs of current and future generations. The recognition among councillors of all stripes that brownfield land should be prioritised for development to meet housing needs, following successful models in other regions, is a welcome one. By revitalising underutilised urban spaces, inspired by the successes of brownfield regeneration across the country, this approach not only breathes new life into cities but also addresses the pressing demand for housing in a sustainable and environmentally conscious manner. Brownfield regeneration presents a unique opportunity to create modern, vibrant communities while preserving greenfield sites and safeguarding precious natural landscapes for future generations.”

David Mawson, Chief Executive, Placefirst

However, their expressed preference leans towards semi-detached houses (59%) as the top choice for developers in their local authority areas, followed closely by apartments. This preference highlights the increasing significance of providing suitable housing options that cater to the needs of families, which is something that the Build to Rent market can address through the provision of single-family rental homes.

A key finding from the research is the overwhelming support (96%) for prioritising brownfield land for redevelopment. Councillors believe that utilising previously developed land can be an effective approach to optimise resources and create sustainable communities. There is significant backing for regenerating town centres with family housing, offering the opportunity to revitalise urban areas while fulfilling the demand for larger homes.

Placefirst and YouGov Councillor polling findings include:

  • Family homes are the housing type most favoured by Councillors (54%), which also encompass single-family rental homes taking many forms of house type.
  • Over half of Councillors are aware of the Build to Rent tenure, with awareness slightly higher among Conservative Councillors (57 vs 68%).
  • Councillors believe Build to Rent developers are most likely to build flats or apartments, followed by semi-detached houses (56%).
  • Councillors would most favour semi-detached houses to be built by developers in their local authority area, followed by flats (59%).
  • Support for brownfield land being prioritised for redevelopment is near-universal among Councillors. Support is also high for town centres being regenerated with family housing (96%).