An independent report by social impact advisory firm The Good Economy has praised Build to Rent specialist Placefirst for the far-reaching social impact of its schemes and commitment to ESG. According to The Good Economy, Placefirst has invested over £134m in total into the development, regeneration, refurbishment and upkeep of its neighbourhoods since launching in 2010.
The company also estimates that residents at Placefirst’s homes across the UK spent an estimated £5.2m last year in their neighbourhoods across multiple local authority areas – boosting local economies. 42% of residents were found to have relocated from outside the local authority, bringing new skills and income to the area – and helping to advance places in need of investment. A fifth were working for the NHS and a further third worked in hospitality, retail, technology and education.
“These investments are expected to have long-lasting impacts on the local communities, including reductions in crime and anti-social behaviour. Properties were mostly long-term vacant prior to acquisition by Placefirst and in a state of serious disrepair. They were often not attractive to or deliverable by other developers due to their complexity, which resulted in an association with a higher level of risk and therefore lack of financial viability.”The Good Economy report
The investment in Placefirst’s 283-home Welsh Streets Build to Rent development in Liverpool created a ‘ripple effect’, according to The Good Economy, which subsequently saw a nearby housing association invest over £17m in the local area.
Alongside this, the developer inspired additional small investments’ such as local landlords and businesses refurbishing their properties and an increase in small businesses.
“Our findings show that since its inception in 2010, Placefirst has made a real difference to the communities where it operates. When it invests in derelict locations in need of regeneration, the benefits to the wider area are significant.”Sarah Forster, CEO and co-Founder, The Good Economy
With refurbishment emitting 36% less carbon than demolishing and constructing new assets, The Good Economy’s report also praised Placefirst’s retrofitting of existing housing stock where possible. Five out of 11 of Placefirst’s neighbourhoods (58%) are comprised of mostly refurbished homes. One local authority told The Good Economy that it is likely several derelict properties in its area would have been demolished had Placefirst not rescued and refurbished them.
Placefirst’s portfolio also scored highly on energy efficiency, with 96% of its homes receiving an EPC rating of C or higher and a third (32%) receiving either B or A ratings. 92% of homes which already had EPC ratings but were then later refurbished by the developer saw ratings increase.
“It’s fantastic to have an independent report spotlight the genuine impact our developments are having on communities up and down the country. Our aim is to create thriving communities across the UK through high-quality sustainable housing – and this research confirms we’re doing just that. The UK is home to the oldest housing stock in Europe, so it is little wonder, then, that so many renters are today living in poor-quality housing. That’s why we are so proud of everything we do at Placefirst – not only are we delivering thousands of desperately-needed new homes, we are also breathing new life and prosperity into communities. Our schemes have also delivered significant benefits to the local authority partners that we have worked with successfully over many years, providing council tax income and delivering high-quality homes for long-term rental.”David Mawson, CEO, Placefirst