The annual HomeViews Build to Rent Report brings the resident experience front and centre, revealing what’s good and what’s not so good in the UK Build to Rent sector. HomeViews Co-founder and CEO gives BTR News a preview of some initial findings and what we can expect from the upcoming report.
By Rory Cramer, Co-founder and CEO, HomeViews
Our new Build to Rent Report comes at a time when the sector is enjoying rapid growth across the UK. Whereas only a few years ago Build to Rent developments were confined to city locations, we’re now seeing the format expanding into more suburban areas.
HomeViews has also expanded its reach, with a dataset for the 2022 report that is twice the size of last year’s. Our review data now covers 64% of completed Build to Rent developments in the UK – that’s 559 developments and more than 93,000 units.
However, as the sector grows, so does the challenge of providing the sky-high levels of service that operators promise to residents. We looked at some of the initial findings from the data for the 2022 report to give a brief preview of the headlines.
The good news is that our verified resident reviews show that Build to Rent is continuing to provide an outstanding experience.
For the third year running, Build to Rent residents rate their experience higher than tenants in BTS buildings. This difference is even more significant when comparing Build to Rent resident scores with those of owners and shared owners in BTS buildings.
Comparing Build to Rent category ratings year-on-year, the sector is also performing well. Ratings in 2021 were slightly higher overall than those given in 2020, continuing a trend for ongoing improvement that is even more impressive given the speed and scale of the sector’s growth over the past year.
The only category showing a slight dip in ratings from 2020-21 was Management. In 2021, residents rated this at 4.23 out of 5, compared with 4.24 in 2020.
HomeViews also collects Build to Rent resident ratings for Customer Service and asks whether they would recommend their landlord. Both of these showed improvement between 2020 and 2021, with a 2021 average Customer Service rating of 4.37 out of 5 and more than 91% of residents saying they would recommend their landlord.
The HomeViews Build to Rent Resident Choice Awards took place in November 2021. To reflect the expansion of the Build to Rent sector and our data set, we analysed the performance of developments by splitting them into large and small categories, and this approach will also be used in the upcoming Build to Rent Report.
Initial findings show that larger developments of more than 350 units outperform smaller developments (less than 350 developments). This was seen across all review categories, but most significantly in the Management review category, where larger developments were rated at 4.43 out of 5, and smaller developments at 4.17.
For our awards, we also split management companies into those with more than or less than 2,000 units. Analysis of this cut will also be seen in the upcoming Build to Rent report.
Other things to look out for in the new report will be a detailed look at Greater Manchester as a thriving hub for Build to Rent. We’ll also assess how almost two years of lockdown have affected reviews, and run our usual comparisons of Build to Rent data across all review categories and extra questions we ask residents.
Looking at the pipeline for new Build to Rent homes, 2022 promises to be another year of expansion for purpose-built rental blocks in the UK. Our hope is that HomeViews’ insights can continue to help our Build to Rent partners and the wider industry to learn from and celebrate best practice examples, as well as identify areas for improvement.
Register here to be among the first to receive a copy of the 2022 HomeViews Build to Rent Report.
HomeViews provides verified resident reviews of the UK’s housing developments. We’re working with developers, house builders, operators, housing associations, and the Government to recognise high performers and help improve standards in the built environment.