UK build-to-rent sector surges 135%, outpacing wider private property rentals

LaToya Harding
·3 min read
MACCLESFIELD-ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 01:  A man is seen looking at houses for sale at an estate agents on February 01, 2021 in Macclesfield , England . (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
Across Britain, build-to-rent now accounts for 53,750 homes within the private rental sector since 2017. Photo: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

The build-to-rent sector in the UK has soared 135%, meaning it accounts for 1% of all rental properties in the country, new research has found.

That is according to housing specialists, Ascend Properties, which revealed that just four years ago, there were 22,831 build-to-rent homes in the UK rental market. This accounted for just 0.4% of private rental stock at the time.

In London, the level of build-to-rent stock was greater than the rest of the county, with 12,709 build-to-rent specific properties accounting for 1.2% of the total rental market.

However, the sector has grown considerably since. Across Britain, build-to-rent now accounts for 53,750 homes within the private rental sector since 2017 - a huge jump when compared to the wider private rental sector itself, which has grown a marginal 0.3%.

In the capital, the volume has increased by 109% over the period, with the current total of 26,625 accounting for 2.5% of all private rental properties in London.

Previous research by Ascend also found that there were 2.4 million more people living within the rental sector when compared to a decade ago.

READ MORE: UK house prices expected to fall as lockdown, stamp duty deadline and job cuts weigh

Ged McPartlin, managing director of Ascend Properties, said: “Although build to rent has been around for quite some time, it’s only in recent years that the sector has started to become a serious area of focus for many big housebuilders.

“This growing trend is clear when analysing the overall rental market and the increasing number of build to rent properties within it, with the sector now accounting for an estimated one per cent of all private rental properties.

“However, this impressive growth is just the tip of the iceberg and we expect to see the share of rental homes accounted for by build to rent continue to grow.”

It comes as England and Wales saw £171.7bn ($238bn) worth of residential property sold in 2020, a 38% fall when compared with 2019.

Estate agent Keller Williams analysed residential property sales between January and December of last year to see what impact the stamp duty holiday had on the market.

The report said that although the total figure was down from £2.8bn in 2019, it was "an extremely respectable performance given the tricky landscape posed by the pandemic.

When it comes to the most valuable pockets of the property market, London took the top three spots.

Westminster saw the highest sum of property sold prices (£2.9bn). Kensington and Chelsea came in second with £2.7bn worth of property sold, while Wandsworth was the third most valuable home selling hotspot with £2.5bn worth of property selling last year.

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