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Tech-Driven Build to Rent - Can Landlords Keep Up?

Peter Hemple looks at the continued blurring of lines between a tenant and a hotel guest

The British Property Federation (BPF) reported in October that in the past year the amount of build to rent units with planning permission, under construction or completed in the UK has surged by over 200% to 67,000 units over the past year. The UK regions have seen an increase of almost 400% however, from 7,000 units in October 2015 to over 34,000 a year on.

Also, while the number of units actually completed in the year to October 2016 'only' increased by 71% in London (compared to the year prior), in the UK regions it soared by 1,723%.

The BPF has stressed that although these figures are encouraging, the sector could be delivering far more homes. 'This is particularly the case at the moment, as investors, with a potential £50bn to invest, look for stable income and investment sectors that will be relatively unaffected by any Brexit market turbulence,' it stated.

To further boost activity the BPF has asked government to consider changes to the SDLT surcharge on additional homes at the Autumn Statement, (on the 23rd of November), which would provide a shot in the arm to the sector. The BPF is also calling to allow flexibility on space standards of up to 10%.

Melanie Leech, chief executive of the BPF, says: "The build to rent sector has been one of the good news stories of the housing market over the past few years and it is great to see quality rental homes now coming on to the market at scale. The truth is the sector could be delivering so much more, however, if it can find the opportunities and maintain confidence to invest. The Brexit negotiation period provides a window of opportunity to channel even further investment into this form of housing supply. The sector was kick-started a few years ago with support from Government, and further modest planning and SDLT changes we believe could firmly send it into overdrive."

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