House building in England is now at its highest level since 2008 according to Government figures. In the year to June, 131,060 residential properties were completed, a rise of 15% on the same period a year ago.
At least 38% of all council flats sold under the Rightto- Buy scheme in England are now being rented out privately, according to research by Inside Housing.
Runnymede has become the latest local authority to move into the private rented sector. The Surrey council has created an investment vehicle (RBC Investments) which will buy the private rented sector element of a £70m project and has another five potential opportunities in the pipeline. Runnymede's plan imitates Newham council's Red Door and Ealing's Broadway Living.
Atlas Residential – a US Build-to-Rent company which operates 18,000 rental units across 13 states valued at a total of £1.3 billion – is entering the UK private rental market. Working alongside Rockspring Property Investment Managers, it has purchased a 145,500 square foot site in prime central Southampton with the intention of building 211 private rental units, which it will design, fund, build and then manage.
In what is believed to be the first of its kind, a property developer is marketing apartments to rent off-plan. The apartments, in Poplar, east London, will not be finished until October and cannot be viewed. Instead, prospective tenants can look at the 158 flats via a "Virtual Walkthrough", which lets them see size, dimensions and layout via their PC, tablet or phone. 60% of the properties have reportedly been let already.
Nick Barnes (NB), Head of Research at Chestertons: The growth of the private rented sector continues relentlessly, which is attracting increasing interest from institutions and larger corporate players. The marketing of apartments to rent off-plan is an interesting concept that only serves to illustrate the strength of demand for rented homes in London.