Could Build to Rent solve London’s housing crisis?

Analysis of twenty developments across London has found Build-to-Rent homes could help more Londoners find affordable, high-quality accommodation.
London Westminster Houses of Parliament

A snapshot analysis of twenty developments across London has found Build-to-Rent homes could help more Londoners find affordable, high-quality accommodation with additional amenities, playing its part in solving London’s housing crisis.

The new report Who Lives in Build-to-Rent? by the capital’s leading business campaign group London First, in partnership with British Property Federation (BPF), Dataloft, and UK Apartment Association (UKAA), highlights that Build to Rent also offers longer-term, secure accommodation with 95% of Build-to-Rent schemes offering tenants a three-year lease and a further 10% of schemes offering longer. So far, 33,835 developments have been completed, and there are currently 15,299 Build-to-Rent developments under construction, with 40,544 in planning.

The data shows the Build-to-Rent sector is an affordable option available for singles, couples, sharers and families looking to make a long-term commitment to their living arrangements. From those sampled, Build-to-Rent residents’ incomes are broadly similar to those living in the private rented sector, with 27% of Build-to-Rent residents earning between £26,000 to £38,000 compared to 26% of those living in the wider private rental market. For couples and sharers, their gross house income spent on rent was below the 30% national benchmark.

The report provides insight from across the 9,994 residents living in 6,267 homes across 20 schemes found:

  • Two-thirds (66%) of residents in our Build-to-Rent sample were couples or sharers, compared to 51% in the wider private rental sector.
  • Just over a third (35%) of tenants have a three-year lease, with 95% of Build-to-Rent schemes offering this type of lease.
  • Build to Rent has comparable levels of affordability to the private rented sector for all tenancy types.


Stephanie Pollitt, programme director for housing at London First, said: “The pandemic has put the private rental market under increased scrutiny, but this report shows that well-managed homes that are high-quality, affordable and available for longer leases can increasingly be the reality for Londoners. There is sometimes a perception that Build to Rent is not accessible to many tenants, but this report demonstrates that the sector is able to meet the needs of Londoners at whatever stage in life they’re at, including for those with families. Build-to-Rent developments are not just a quick fix – they are a viable long-term solution for many, and the sector has an important part to play in helping to alleviate London’s housing crisis.”

 James Simondson, Assistant Director of Policy, BPF, added: “This report again shows that Build to Rent is a key solution to the many housing challenges facing London. Build to Rent is delivering an unparalleled renting experience to a diverse range of Londoners – high quality, professionally managed, affordable and tenure-secure homes with access to amenities included. Additionally, and as this report outlines, Build to Rent has been a key delivery partner to the Greater London Authority in building intermediate rented homes in tenure-blind Build-to-Rent schemes. The release of this report is a timely reminder that with greater collaboration between local authorities and the sector, we can unlock the full potential of Build to Rent to provide intermediate rented homes in integrated and sustainable communities across London.”

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