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Is Build to Rent Dominating London’s New Home Constructions?

Build to Rent has, alongside the rest of the new build sector, endured difficult times during the COVID-19 pandemic with completions dropping slightly in the face of pandemic restrictions. In Q1 2021, throughout the UK there were 3,256 Build to Rent completions, representing a -10 per cent drop when compared to Q1 2020.

In London, however, the past year has actually seen an increase in Built to Rent completions. In Q1 2020, there were 1,600 completions, while in Q1 2021, there were 1,809 completions, a rise of 13 per cent.

And while the pandemic has brought with it severe complications, if we compare Build to Rent performance before COVID-19 arrived with its performance throughout the pandemic, London has demonstrated impressive resilience and optimism.

In the five quarters leading up to the start of the pandemic, London had 5,767 Build to Rent completions. In the five quarters since the pandemic started, there has been 7,371 Build to Rent completions, a remarkable rise of 28 per cent. During the same time period, Build to Rent completions across the UK as a whole dropped by -11 per cent, from 16,055 to 14,267.

If we compare the success of London Build to Rent during the pandemic with the success of the wider new-build sector during the same time period, the data suggests that Build to Rent is becoming the go-to choice for developers in the capital.

While London new build completions as a whole fell by -10 per cent during the pandemic, the number of Build to Rent completions rose by almost 60 per cent, showing that Build to Rent is an increasingly dominant force in the new build sector.

Ged McPartlin, managing director of Ascend Properties, said: “This data shows, without question, that Build to Rent is now the premier choice for London developers. While the pandemic has brought about a marginal decline in Build to Rent completions at a national level, the sector has gone from strength to strength within the capital and now accounts for a far greater proportion of all new build completions. This is hardly surprising as Build to Rent lends itself perfectly to the mixed-use development schemes that are fast becoming a key focus for London developers and local authorities, who are looking to revive demand in urban areas that have suffered since people stopped commuting into work. It’s often the case that unexpected global events turn long-term visions into immediate actions  – this is the case with COVID and Build to Rent. Build to Rent was always destined to dominate the long-term vision of developers and residents alike, but the pandemic has now expedited that process of evolution.”