Private rented sector “key” to UK housing recovery

London, where Mayor Boris Johnson has backed the “built to rent” scheme Photo:   Tim Tabor

Speaking at the BPF annual Residential Conference, hosted by Deloitte Real Estate, Shadow Planning Minister Roberta Blackman Woods highlighted the need to build more homes and end a severe shortage of supply:

“With the country in the midst of the biggest housing crisis in a generation, we desperately need to build more homes. Labour is determined to tackle this crisis and we have committed to increasing housebuilding to 200,000 homes a year by 2020.”
She added that the private rented sector is already helping to tackle the need for accommodation: “Crucial to building more homes is recognising that we need to build more homes of all tenures. The private rented sector already plays an important role in meeting the UK’s housing needs but it can do much more.

Research commission by the BPF and carried out by Molior London revealed that progression in the ‘build to rent’ sector over the past year has been significant, with 8 per cent of all new build property in the capital built for the rental market, which the BPF sees as extremely encouraging.

Indeed, London’s Mayor has also shown confidence in the sector, making build-to-rent a 5k contributor towards his annual housing target of 42k units. Maintaining interest in the sector and ensuring that it does not become a tenure that is only available in London is crucial to the model’s sustainability, and local authorities play a crucial part in ensuring its delivery across the UK.

Speakers from JP Morgan, British Land and Barclays Corporate Banking also highlighted the PRS’ strong performance as an asset class, as well as the importance of attracting institutional investment to the sector.
“For the private rented sector to play an increasingly important role we need to ensure that the conditions are right to attract the long-term investment that the sector needs,” continued the Shadow Planning Minister. “We also need to ensure that the sector is one of choice and ready to meet the needs of those living in it now and in the future, who do not want or currently cannot buy their own home.
“That’s why Labour has set out plans to reform the private rented sector. If the private rented sector is to be one of choice it must meet the needs of those living in it not least the 1.3 million families with children.”
Michela Hancock, Development Manager, Bozzuto, added: “There is a massive opportunity in the UK private rented sector to move towards a large scale, efficient model that includes professional management and maintenance on site, customer service that responds to the renters needs and creates a community within the scheme. Aspects of the customer service model already exist within the UK through the hotel, student accommodation and commercial asset classes.”