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The challenges of build to rent for UK housing providers

Published: 
25 June 2013

Britain’s housing crisis is well documented. Supply has failed to keep up with demand for many years, keeping prices historically high despite a prolonged downturn. This has become particularly pronounced in the private rented sector which in many parts of the country is now more expensive than owning a home with a mortgage given that interest rates remain low. However, difficulties accessing mortgage finance and raising a deposit coupled with a decline in the stock of social housing have left many low and middle income households with few options except the private rented sector.

Kick starting the development of purpose built rental accommodation in the UK to increase the supply of private rented homes for those who are shut out of home ownership must now be a priority. As well as growing supply, build to rent could bring to market a new rental offer for tenants: purpose built accommodation, greater security of tenure, more transparent rental increases and more consistent management quality, with a new breed of lettings agents and asset managers.

This briefing note looks at the challenges that build to rent poses for housing providers. It is based on a six month project conducted by the Resolution Foundation and Social Finance to develop a financing model for institutional investment in a build to rent portfolio of 778 rental units nationwide aimed at middle income households.