Embracing BTR in our cities to stay competitive and dynamic

With the average age of first time buyers increasing every year, it’s no wonder the Build To Rent market is booming as scaled provision for those not yet on the property ladder is lucrative business.  What is interesting is watching where supply and demand waxes and wanes. 

Here in the East Midlands, entry level property remained (and still remains in certain areas) more accessible than in over-heated areas like London or the South-East.  However, in many cities and larger towns, forward-thinking Councils are embracing what can be large-scale developments, as a part of their wider economic growth strategy. If our East Midlands cities want to attract globally competitive businesses and workforces, they need to provide affordable and appropriately designed housing. The Build to Rent model fulfils that need by providing scaled accommodation with standard features such as on-site gyms and shared spaces.  The new Landmark development in Derby, Saffron Court in Nottingham, or The Wullcomb in Leicester, will all attract and retain young people at the time when they may be considering a range of job or location options.  

Build to Rent has historically been city centre living for millennials, but this is changing and will need to change further to provide more rentable family accommodation.  However you can’t fulfil the set of need for the next life phase if your future residents have already left the city and put down roots elsewhere.  

This is where Midlands cities need to embrace Build to Rent and boast about the many advantages they offer over the eye-watering prices demanded in our capital (and I say this as someone who spent 15 years living and working in Greater London before heading to the Midlands), but if that doesn’t include the right housing options at the right time -  younger, mobile and globally focused generations will simply look elsewhere.

Sereena Davey is Associate Director of our East Midlands office and has lived in south Lincolnshire for five years.

The YIMBYMPC