White Paper – BTR suburban communities: the next stage in the evolution of Build to Rent

Penny Norton, working on behalf of Leaders Romans Group (LRG) has edited BTR suburban communities: the next stage in the evolution of Build to Rent. This White Paper focuses on the future evolution of this fastest-growing property class and coins a new description for the next phase of its development – BTR suburban communities.

In the past 10 years, BTR has expanded exponentially: British Property Federation (BPF) figures released on 20 October demonstrate that completed Build-to-Rent homes in the UK could increase from 76,800 to more than 380,000 in next ten years and that the sector could be worth £170bn by 2032.

Q1 2021 to Q1 2022 the BPF’ s figures had shown 14% growth, rising to 4% from Q3 to Q4 2021. Analysis also shows that in 2021, BTR accounted for 6% of all housebuilding; investment topped £4bn – and continues to rise.

LRG’s White Paper looks ahead, addressing the market, investment opportunity and character of BTR over the next 10 years.

The now fastest-emerging form of BTR is suburban family homes, in stark contrast to the traditional city centre apartments which were marketed at young professionals. Accounting for an incredible 66% growth year-on-year, this new iteration is sometimes known as ‘suburban BTR’ or ‘Single Family Housing’.

LRG, however, has coined the term ‘BTR suburban communities’ to differentiate from the city model and emphasise the importance of community in comparison to a typical housing estate. 

BTR suburban communities comprise family homes, located outside urban areas, which are focussed around shared community spaces and shared services – from a ‘library of things’, cleaning and gardening services, to leisure and social facilities. The intrinsic values of traditional BTR are an important feature of BTR suburban communities – including high levels of service (managed smoothly through online technology and controlled though an app), flexible tenancies and a focus on sustainability. At the same time, these communities provide something very different, accommodating Millennials (BTR’s original target market) as their lifestyles change.

The White Paper describes this transition, along with the reasons for the exponential growth of BTR and the extent of the market. It features chapters from the LRG directors which form the Three Sixty Space taskforce, representing the skills that are fundamental to creating BTR suburban communities.  This includes new homes development, masterplanning, land, planning, surveying and sustainability.  It draws on the decades of experience that LRG has creating and managing large scale communities of rented homes as well as considerable experience within the traditional BTR sector.

In the White Paper’s Foreword, Ian Fletcher Director of Policy (Real Estate) at the British Property Federation says, ‘One of the pleasing aspects of the BTR journey has been a willingness of market participants to share expertise on what was a new departure for us all. Publications like this are therefore always very welcome, in providing a platform for the sharing of knowledge and perspectives.

‘Unsurprisingly, in ten years the sector has evolved significantly, delivering greater variety and flexibility for the customer. The sector has also moved beyond London, to a situation where almost half of all local councils now have a BTR presence.

‘I think the next ten years of BTR will be as exciting as the last ten. I am delighted to provide a foreword to LRG’s White Paper and wet appetites, but my contribution is only a taster, and the real contemporary observations and forward-thinking are in the contributions from LRG.’

The White Paper, BTR suburban communities: the next stage in the evolution of Build to Rent can be downloaded at https://marketing.lrg.co.uk/btr-suburban-communities-white-paper.