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LATEST: Surge in build-to-rent construction over past 12 months

NHBC figures reveal acceleration in rate at which build-to-rent sector is expanding, helping boost government claims of increased home building in the UK.

Nigel Lewis

build to rent

New figures from the NHBC published this morning reveal an astonishing acceleration in the number of build-to-rent flats completed last year, increasing by 57% to just under 4,800 units compared to 2018.

One commentator has already called the increase “indicative of a rapidly-changing approach to renting in the UK where service is no longer seen as a premium but instead as a core part of the offer”.

Franz Doerr, CEO of deposit alternative firm Flatfair, also says the figures suggest there is significant shift in the way people view renting.

The NHBC figures reveal the accelerating nature of build-to-rent construction.

In 2015, when figures were first gathered, just 1,257 apartments were completed, a figure which then reduced the next year before beginning to expand each year. But last year’s total is the biggest leap yet, the research document released to the media late last night shows.

The NHBC figures will be music to ministerial ears. Successive Conservative governments have tried their best to encourage the ‘corporatisation’ of the rental market over the past ten years while clamping down on the traditional lettings with new regulations and additional taxes for buy-to-let landlords.

And champagne flutes will be clinking at the Ministry of Housing for another reason – the NHBC says some 161,022 homes were built last year across all tenures, the highest figure since 2007, just before the financial crisis hit the housing market.

Private sector-built houses made up 112,086 of this total, down 3% on 2018. The increase has come from the affordable housing and build-to-rent sectors ramping up.

Read the report in full (open as PDF)

February 6, 2020

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