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Build to Rent still has lessons to learn from other sectors

By Nigel Howell, Chief Executive, FirstPort
This article was printed in Property Week on Tuesday 14 August

CBRE’s latest UK Residential Investment Report notes that “international developers [are] circling the market” with £32.7bn of institutional equity targeting the UK private rented sector over the next five years. This is yet more evidence that investment in the sector is booming.

To reach these figures we need to deliver build-to-rent (BTR) at speed and scale – but while we love to talk about BTR, the supply chain is still catching up with investor demand.

Operators across the development, design, construction, build, operation and management phases are at varying stages of development in their BTR expertise. Often they’re still a long way behind the highly specialised suppliers of traditional residential, hotels and student accommodation, for example.

We need to learn from other alternative sectors and international equivalents. There are also some early lessons from what has and hasn’t worked in UK BTR’s nascent years, particularly in terms of integrating design, build and operation. By being more open with information and encouraging peer-to-peer learning, we can provide a more mature collective offer to international investors.

In FirstPort’s industry– property management – the challenge for most operators is capacity. As we step up our activity in this market, many new entrants lack the scale and reach to meet investors’ appetite to deliver multiple schemes, in multiple locations, while providing a consistently excellent service to customers.

Read the full article in Property Week

Nigel Howell

Nigel Howell, Chief Executive, FirstPort