The PRS REIT announces Q4 update

Closed-ended real estate investment trust, The PRS REIT, provides an update on activity for Q4 of its financial year ended 30 June 2023.

The PRS REIT's investment manager Sigma Capital's Charlton Gardens single-family Build to Rent homes | BTR News
Sigma Capital's Charlton Gardens single-family Build to Rent homes.

The PRS REIT is the closed-ended real estate investment trust that invests in high-quality, new build, single-family Build to Rent homes.

The business model remains firmly supported by market fundamentals, most significantly, a rapidly expanding rental sector, population growth, changing household formation and grossly insufficient new housing volumes. 

Reflecting this and the general lack of supply of good quality rental homes, demand for the company’s homes remains high. Occupancy levels and rent collection are high, whilst arrears are low and, over the 12 months to 30 June 2023, rental growth was at 7.5% across the portfolio.

The board is confident about prospects, with affordability (being average rent as a proportion of gross household income) at 25% and the company’s costs substantially fixed following the recent debt refinancing. 

Delivery Progress

The PRS REIT’s portfolio of single-family Build to Rent houses remains the largest of its kind in the UK and it continues to expand with 70 new rental homes added to the portfolio in the fourth quarter of the financial year.

This has taken the total number of homes added during the financial year to 294 and the number of completed homes in the portfolio to 5,080, compared to 4,786 as at 30 June 2022. 

The estimated rental value (ERV) of the 5,080 completed homes on 30 June 2023 was £55m per annum, a 15% increase on the same point last year (30 June 2022: ERV of £47.8m per annum).

A further 444 homes, with an ERV of £3.8m per annum, were contracted on 30 June 2023, and are at varying stages of the construction process.

Asset Performance

Rent collection (defined as rent collected in the period against rent invoiced in the same period) was 99% and total occupancy at the end of the quarter was at 97%, with 4,932 of the 5,080 completed homes occupied. A further 59 homes were reserved at the quarter end for applicants who had passed referencing and paid rental deposits.

Total arrears on 30 June 2023 remained low at £0.6m (30 June 2022: £0.6m). 

Like-for-like rental growth over the year has risen to 7.5% on stabilised sites, from 5.7% at the end of the third quarter.

Affordability (average rent as a proportion of gross household income) remains very strong at 25%, which is significantly lower than Home England’s guidance of less than 35%.

Demand for The PRS REIT’s high quality, professionally managed rental homes currently remains strong. Homes are well-located and close to employment centres, good primary schools, local amenities and transport links, with these factors helping to drive demand.

The company’s focus on providing a high level of customer service continues to receive favourable comment in tenant surveys.

Financial

As previously reported on 10 July 2023, The PRS REIT refinanced its £150m revolving credit facility, securing a £102m facility of fixed-rate debt for 15 years and a further £75m of floating-rate debt for two years, providing the company with the flexibility to refinance the floating element in due course. An interest rate cap is in place on the floating rate debt.

As a result of the refinancing, approximately 82% of the company’s overall debt is covered by long-term facilities, with an average term of 16 years and an average blended interest rate of 3.8%. 

The average maturity of its overall debt has increased to 13.7 years on 30 June 2023 from 10.9 years at 31 December 2022.

If the £75m floating rate facility is drawn down in full and using today’s reference rate, the average blended interest rate on the group’s overall debt facilities would be 4.3%.

With rental demand strong and rising, and the Build to Rent sector still nascent, the board believes that the encouraging fundamentals should be reflected in future asset valuations.

Dividend

An interim dividend of 1.0 pence per ordinary share in respect of the third quarter of the financial year was paid on 26 May 2023.

The board expects to declare an interim dividend in respect of the fourth quarter of the financial year ended 30 June 2023 by early August.