Where are the top Build to Rent hotspots?

Posted on 24 May, 2021

Build to Rent is booming and looks set to go stratospheric. Viewber takes a look at Build to Rent’s current star locations and highlights five ‘ones to watch’ for the future.

Build to Rent (BtR) is currently big news, capped by the first ever BtR customer awareness week running May 2021 (24th to 28th). Leading BtR brands, including Allsop, Simple Life, Folio and Fizzy Living - together with the British Property Federation, the UKAA and dedicated online portal Love to Rent - are throwing their weight behind the initiative, with the aim of raising BtR’s profile among the general public.

There are a reported 50,000 occupied BtR units in the UK and 2020 saw a record level of investment in the sector, laying the groundwork for the delivery of tens of thousands more BtR properties in 2021 and beyond. You could say BtR is coming of age as it now has its very own rental value index, with enough specific BtR property stock available for analysis.

The number crunching was performed by Ascend Properties, who scrutinised rental market data between 2019 and 2020 to ascertain where in the country had seen the biggest increase in BtR rental market prices. The results identified the top 10 major cities across England where the average monthly BtR rent had risen the most.

Number one spot was claimed by Newcastle, where the average monthly BtR per calendar month (pcm) was £858 - a 17% increase when compared to the previous year. Leeds (6% rise); Birmingham (3% rise); Manchester (3% rise); Liverpool (2% rise); Sheffield (2% rise); Sunderland (1% rise); Plymouth (1%); Leicester (0.2% rise) and Southampton (0.1% rise) complete the top 10.

The rent rises noted by Ascend Properties also tell a bigger story, with the analysis showing that tenants are willing to pay a premium for BtR rentals.

BtR rents in London, Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol, Manchester and Leeds all cost more per month when compared to their traditional private landlord counterparts. It is widely believed that the lifestyle offered by dedicated BtR developments, with a focus on communal facilities, social interaction and outdoor space, fully justifies the higher cost.

So where next for the BtrR boom? Wise Living set out to identify the next batch of BtR property hot spots, with surprising results. To evaluate a location’s future BtR potential, it looked at the local rental market and availability, Government funding, BtR investment in stages of planning, construction and completion, Ofsted ratings for local schools and the density of each area’s population.

The five key areas in the UK for BtR growth were identified as:

1. Warrington

2. Stoke-On-Trent

3. Norwich

4. Peterborough

5. Hull

Although these are not headline locations, the results didn’t surprise the people who commissioned the analysis. Wise Living’s Paul Staley says "the pandemic has pushed people away from big cities, especially with today’s ‘work from home’ culture giving renters more freedom over where they live."

Dedicated BtR developments in outlying towns and cities are now seen as a direct path to more open space and green surroundings, a quieter setting and access to good schools. The growing ‘supply and demand’ situation and desire to relocate for adjusted lifestyles is proving a heady mix for investors and household names too, with The John Lewis Partnership, Transport for London and Legal & General all diversifying their business strategy to include BtR investments.

If you are involved in the BtR sector and would like assistance with accompanied viewings or property visits or reports, talk to Viewber today.

Our nationwide service is available in all of the towns and cities mentioned above, with local Viewbers available seven days a week, including evenings and Bank Holidays.

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