19 Nov 2021

Results have been released of an analysis of over 20,000 Build To Rent tenants in over 15,000 homes across the UK – the latest such study of its kind.

Conducted by Dataloft for a group including the British Property Federation – a cheerleader for BTR across the UK – the results claim to show, despite suggestions to the contrary, the sector is not highly priced and in some eyes “unaffordable.”

BTR remains niche – the report says that while over 140,000 homes are currently under construction or in planning, over 80 per cent are in the 20 cities where the UK government has increased housing targets. In its second year the Who Lives in Build To Rent? report from the BPF, Dataloft, London First and the UK Apartment Association analysed 89 schemes in England totalling over 20,000 residents in over 15,000 homes. 

The urban component of the data – constituting 15,887 residents, 12,404 homes across 49 schemes – was benchmarked with tenants in the wider private rental sector. 

It found that BTR had a similar resident profile across income, profession, age and affordability.

BTR residents’ incomes are broadly similar to those in the wider private sector – in the urban BTR sample, 32 per cent of residents earn between £19,000 and £32,000 per year and in the full private rental sector it is 37 per cent.

Citing the Office for National Statistics criterion that housing is affordable if tenants spend 30 per cent or less of their income on rent, the study claims that monthly rental costs for couples and sharers living in BTR are 30 per cent but are 33 per cent across the private rental sector. 

The report continues: “What’s more, BTR doesn’t just provide residents with a home for their monthly rent payment – 78 per cent of schemes in the urban data had a roof terrace or shared garden, 73 per cent a have a concierge, 73 per cent have social events, 69 per cent have parcel acceptance and storage, and 61 per cent have a co-working space.”

Across the urban data, some 18 per cent of BTR tenants are public sector workers.

Over four in 10 residents in both the BTR and full private rental sectors are 25 to 34 years old. Only one in 10 BTR resident is over 45.

James Simondson, assistant director (housing) at the British Property Federation, comments, “BTR homes – high-quality, professionally managed, purpose-built homes for private rent – are being taken up by a diverse range of people across England. 

“Our report shows that residents in BTR are much more representative of the wider PRS than is often perceived – with one in five residents employed in the public sector and broad similarities across age, income and affordability. 

“What’s more, BTR is delivering homes in the cities that government has identified for additional housing delivery. It is of paramount importance that the UK seeks to address the housing crisis by building a range of different properties and tenures to suit everyone’s needs.”

And Sandra Jones, managing director of Dataloft, adds: “Private Rental Sector v Build To Rrent is not a binary ‘them and us’ and this kind of data sharing initiative is key to understanding the whole rental ecosystem.”

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