Rettie & Co facilitates BTR investor meeting with Scottish Government

Facilitated by Rettie & Co, the meeting addressed Scotland’s housing shortage and the barriers to investment posed by the forthcoming Housing Bill.

The Western Harbour development, including Build to Rent homes, at Newhaven in Edinburgh - Rettie & Co | BTR News
The Western Harbour development, including Build to Rent homes, at Newhaven in Edinburgh.

Specialist property firm Rettie & Co has recently facilitated a meeting in London with key Build to Rent investors and the Scottish Government to discuss the Scottish rental housing market and reform proposals, at the request of Paul McLennan, Minister for Housing.  

The minister met with institutional investors who, given the right environment and conditions, could invest over £3bn into Scotland’s housing sector. The meeting at Scotland House addressed Scotland’s housing shortage, and any barriers to investment posed by the forthcoming Housing Bill that will be going through the Scottish Parliament.  

In research commissioned by the British Property Federation earlier this year, Rettie & Co highlighted the strong fundamentals underpinning the residential investment opportunity in Scotland, but also negative sentiment towards Scotland’s Private Rental Sector (PRS) from UK and International investors. 

In the firm’s ‘Build to Rent Scotland, Scottish Market Review 2023’, Rettie & Co’s Director of Strategy and Research John Boyle outlined how current investor sentiment should be considered as a ‘major concern’ given the scale of the country’s housing supply crisis.

“While it was hoped that institutional investors would step in to fill the shortage of housing in the Private Rental Sector, a number of factors including political intervention in the sector continues to exacerbate the problem of supply.”

Gillian McLees, Director of Build to Rent, Rettie & Co

In the Build to Rent report, the firm states that while the sector continues to grow in Scotland, the speed of development is still significantly below the trajectory elsewhere in the UK. It indicates that an improved investment environment will help to drive the approximately 14,000 planned Build to Rent and MMR units in Scotland, collectively valued at around £3bn, which are still to reach the construction phase.

Of the approximately 17,000 Build to Rent units operating or in the pipeline in Scotland, around 8,500 are in Glasgow, 6,500 are in Edinburgh, and around 1,300 are in Aberdeen. 

In September, the Scottish Government announced that the new Housing Bill will introduce revised regulations for landlords, rent controls and new rights for tenants. Also announced was investment of £750m for new affordable homes, 10% of which would be in rural and island communities. Overall, the Scottish Government aims to build 110,000 affordable homes by 2032. 

“With applicants sometimes reaching 70 per home, for example at Newhaven in Edinburgh, and rent increases reflecting the acute shortage of housing in key areas, it is welcome that pension funds are looking to support housebuilding. It is vital that this Housing Bill encourages and hopefully accelerates the allocation of much needed funding to Scotland.”

Matthew Benson, Director, Rettie & Co

Rettie & Co was also named Associate Member of the Year at the Homes for Scotland Awards in May, which recognised the value of its work in supporting the residential development sector.