The trend is clear – an increasing appetite for larger Build to Rent (BTR) schemes. Whilst bigger is not always better, all things being equal (admittedly, they rarely are), there are likely to be clear benefits for a larger scheme, particularly one aimed at the deep mid-market.
Chief among these, are economies of scale and increased communal amenity space. Those investors which benefit from such scale are then well placed to offer competitive rents - in a market which is likely to become more competitive over time. As more investors enter it, this will be important - and create a vibrant community which, in turn, will burnish the brand; a sort of virtuous circle, if you like.
That’s the theory at least. The proof though will be in the pudding. As expected, there is still a lack of data from stabilised assets pointing to an optimum scale following the creation of such operational efficiencies (or at least the potential for such). This will change though over the next few years as more schemes come on line - data is likely to become more accessible, particularly to the institutional investors, and operators will need to learn lessons quickly in order to maintain high occupancy and demonstrate brand quality.
As Chair of the AREF (Association of Real Estate Funds) Residential Investment Working Group, one of our aims this year is to make this data more accessible in order to benefit the growth of this burgeoning sub-sector.
Data is king or to coin a Latin phrase - scientia potentia est (knowledge is power). In many respects, there is nothing new under the sun. Bigger (or more) data is definitely better.
The research highlights a growing trend towards larger BTR developments