The 20 Best UK Places for Build-to-Rent

CACI, the consumer and location intelligence specialist, has revealed the top 20 areas best to invest in for build-to-rent (BTR) schemes across the UKThe research highlights developments are proving increasingly popular with residents, as more and more consumers are attracted to BTR schemes because of the ease and convenience they provide.

CACI’s data has unearthed significant opportunities outside London, with both Coventry in the West Midlands and Central Bedfordshire in the East of England achieving total ranking scores of 71% each for BTR investment potential.

The complete top 20 is:

1

Coventry

11

Cardiff

2

Central Bedfordshire

12

Maidstone

3

Aylesbury Vale

13

Arun

4

South Gloucestershire

14

West Lothian

5

Colchester

15

Barking and Dagenham

6

Milton Keynes

16

Manchester

7

Swale

17

Wealden

8

Sandwell

18

Peterborough

9

Ashford

19

Sheffield

10

Leeds

20

County Durham

In London itself, Barking and Dagenham are the highest-ranking boroughs, largely driven by the rental income and quantity of potential customers.  The data also reveals there is a geographical pattern in London, with the biggest opportunity for BTR in the capital to the east and north of the city, largely driven by the underlying demographic of the area.

More than £1.2 billion was invested into the UK’s BTR market in Q1 2021, the highest first quarter on record*.  To reflect the growing popularity of the sector, CACI’s BTR index has reviewed factors including rents, affordability, yields, volume of potential customers and population growth to create the ranking.

Tolgar Necar, managing consultant at CACI, said: “It’s clear from our ranking that the UK BTR market has established itself in a wide range of locationsThe market is growing rapidly and destinations within the London commuter belt are becoming more appealing than ever for this younger generation looking for convenience and high-end schemes to live in. For more and more of these consumers, it is all about the ability to socialise as opposed to the size of the property, kerb appeal and having a garden are less important, which is reflective of their life-stage.”

Managed services and facilities contribute hugely to the attractiveness of the schemes to prospective tenants, allowing developers to stand-out from the competition and achieve premium rental values, creating a win-win for developers seeking higher yields and renters happy to pay for these features.  Such premiums tend to gear developments towards higher-earning groups, often falling within CACI’s ‘rising prosperity’ Acorn segments, with aspirational ‘starting out’ groups also attracted by the ease and convenience that these managed schemes provide.

CACI’s research has also identified the factors most relevant to such consumers when choosing a BTR location: proximity to friends, proximity to work, transport links, proximity to green space, the quality of local amenities (shops and F&B); and access to high-speed internet.  BTR schemes also typically offer high-spec units, with managed amenities and services – the best of which are highly targeted to the needs, wants and lifestyles of specific user groups and audiences.