Strawberry Star launches Star Living Build to Rent arm

Strawberry Star announces the launch of a dedicated Build to Rent arm - Star Living - with three schemes to launch.

Star Living Harlow development by Strawberry Star | BTR News
Star Living Harlow development by Strawberry Star.

Specialist property developer and operator – Strawberry Star Group –  launches a dedicated Build to Rent arm, named Star Living, as it continues to expand its housing vision.

Star Living is positioned in the market to provide a modern and convenient rental product within the commuter belt against a background of chronic supply issues, whilst serving investors as a resilient asset class poised for growth. Star Living will first launch its Build to Rent schemes at sites in Harlow, Luton and Gravesend.

Star Living will launch at its Harlow development in Essex, with phase one as a dedicated Build to Rent block. Construction is due to start this year with completion expected in 2024. With a GDV of £45m, the development will include 163 residential units – a mix of studios, one and two bedroom apartments with Wi-Fi and furniture included. Residents will benefit from a single customer journey from reservations to end of tenancy, including digital concierge, maintenance, parcel storage, flexible co-working and multi-purpose room, shared roof terrace, ancillary services such as laundry, dry cleaning and housekeeping, with pets allowed and flexible contracts on offer.

Star Living Gravesend by Strawberry Star | BTR News
Star Living Gravesend by Strawberry Star.

Star Living has received planning permission for its site in Gravesend, Kent. Plans include around 100 new Build to Rent homes in the first phase – with a GDV of £30m. Phase two of Lu2on in Bedfordshire, Strawberry Star’s existing BTS site will launch with 564 Build to Rent homes – with an estimated GDV of £160m. Strawberry Star Group aim to have a portfolio within London commuter towns with a target of £1bn GDV by 2027.

“Our vision for Strawberry Star’s Star Living arm is to be the leading income generating, diversified and scalable Build to Rent investment platform through our unique, cost-efficient, build and operational expertise. We aim to be one of the largest Build to Rent providers in the commuter belt by 2027. Star Living brings together our existing skillsets as an end-to-end provider combined with a panel of leading contractors and consultants for significant placemaking schemes that benefit each local community.”

“With a strong pipeline of new Star Living sites due to launch in the next 12 months, we are one of the few developers responding in volume to the current supply crisis. We are focusing on commuter growth towns with a high proportion of young professionals and a low supply of rental properties, aiming to help redress the balance which is causing an upwards pressure on rental values. More choice and better supply will be a huge advantage to those now spending increasing time at home with flexible working here to stay, as Build to Rent products are in a much better position to meet future needs and live-work trends.”

Santhosh Gowda, Chairman, Strawberry Star
Lu2on development - Strawberry Star | BTR News
Lu2on development.

Adding a dedicated Build to Rent offering on top of development, residential sales, lettings, asset management and acquisitions, Star Living is positioning the business as a unique end-to-end provider for an integrated solution, providing one customer journey for both the investor and tenant. Star Living’s purpose-built model is a one-stop- shop, which takes care of everything from letting the property to community engagement.

Strawberry Star has tested out rental market appetite at their flagship Lu2on scheme in Bedfordshire. The scheme recently completed 401 homes as part of its first phase, with one of the three blocks dedicated to rental homes. 65% of the 135 rental units rented within the last three months of completion.Luton represents a key growing commuter hub for Strawberry Star, indicative of the future sites Star Living will target.

“Our Lu2on scheme has proven exceptionally popular with tenants, carving out a brand-new rental market for this product type. It’s the perfect location for commuting young professionals, with infrastructure improvements like the new DART train enhancing its appeal. Our proven track record of success here will support our transition into full Build to Rent with a model based on both performance and customer satisfaction.”

Santhosh Gowda, Chairman, Strawberry Star
LU2ON retail promenade (phase 1 and 2) - Strawberry Star | BTR News
LU2ON retail promenade (phase 1 and 2).

Other Star Living sites aim to fill a gap in the market by virtue of its chosen location. By choosing areas close to transport hubs that have very few new-build rentals on offer, Strawberry Star aim to be the first to market, providing invaluable new homes for growing commuter hubs. Nearly all Build to Rent schemes under Star Living will be located in towns and cities identified as having increased housing targets, underlining the important role these homes have in meeting the UK’s national housing targets.

“2022 is without a doubt the year of Build to Rent, providing an obvious solution to this highly pressurised market. Last year saw a near 80% increase of capital invested into the sector compared to 2020, so it’s not unreasonable to suggest investment could triple as we edge towards 2023, having shown incredibly strong resilience during an unpredictable year for the UK economy.”

Santhosh Gowda, Chairman, Strawberry Star