Outside of property hotspots like London, cities like Leeds are creating brand-new communities through this new build to rent format that is creating more structure than the traditional property market.
Most build to rent partnerships are made for urban centers that have many apartments that are rich in amenities. This is almost an exact description of Leeds, with the first huge build to rent project being the Clarendon Quarter. This particular project has 300+ apartments, and there are over 3500 more in the works to be built in the city. There may be more, but this is the number of apartments that are set to be put into development at this time.
There are about 1000 units that are currently under construction and property agents believe that Leeds is the most active build to rent market in the UK. There is a great deal of demand here that is moved forward by the attention of young professionals and students living and working in the area.
The rents in a build to rent scheme can actually be higher than traditional renting options. This lets everyone know that renting is not all about price in some cases. Although the rent is higher in areas like this, the amenities are much better as well. Communal facilities are given a great deal of attention, which leads to a much better sense of community in the area. People tend to stay in the areas longer, which helps the property prices in the area as well.
The government is backing these build to rent schemes because it believes that they will help to get rid of the shortage of housing that the country has been suffering of late. Detractors are concerned about the format being a trend, and many of them are actually looking to the next election and blaming the Labour Party for looking to impose caps on rent. This would effectively end the exclusive nature of build to rent properties, but it is such a fluid market, that no one can really say how everyone would react.
Overall, the proportion of people who are renting has definitely gone up over the last decade. The availability of mortgages has gone down because of rising housing prices and stagnant wages. There is a great deal of pressure on everyone to build homes that are affordable. Many people are actually saying that the build to rent phenomenon could cause rental demand to move lower in the next 10 years.
However, this is not stopping many of the country’s most aggressive property developers. Pickard Properties is just one of many companies that are investing in an impressive amount of money into Leeds specifically and build to rent in general. They are putting £40m into an innovative new type of village. It is worthy to note that this family-owned property group already has substantial ties to Leeds.
However, this company is leading the pack when it comes to turning build to rent into a neighbourhood concept. Traditionally, neighbourhoods were built on people creating mortgages with developers and banks. This may not be the case with the Millennial generation – there may only be enough room to create these rental villages. Pickard Properties is betting on this trend with its development known as Spinning Acres.
The goal of Spinning Acres (Far Headingley, Leeds) is to mix the communities of renters and owners. It is placed on a site that is quite sprawling – 6 acres in total. The area is only 3 miles from the centre of the city, but it is also very beautifully placed inside of the For Headingley Conservation Area. The development currently has 13 townhouses, and rent is substantially more affordable in this development considering rents and other places that are comparable. For £1,800 per month, you can live in Spinning Acres.
You can bet that the innovation showed here will pay off if trends continue on the path that they are on currently. Younger people need more affordable housing, and older people are looking for a quiet, nice place to retire. The thought of a mixed community keeps the best of both worlds. Young people can be close to the action of the city without paying outrageous prices. Older people can enjoy the beauty of nature without losing out on the energy of use. It seems as though this new build to rent format has given a new life to property in general.