Can Build to Rent schemes create better communities?

As the build to rent sector continues to grow in London, it’s great to see more and more players enter the market, especially those who have years and years worth of experience from further afield. One such player is Greystar, who operate 400,000 homes across the student, private rented and senior living sectors, the vast majority of which are in the US and Canada. In short, they know what they’re doing.

Too often new housing developments get a bad name. It doesn’t help when you hear of stories where buildings a little more than a few years old have to be torn down due to inadequacies in the construction. Where private developers are working on a 20% margin, all too often it will be the public realm and finishing touches that get ‘value engineered’ and result in poor place-making.

This however should be a thing of the past when it comes to large build to rent developers. Instead of their private sale counterparts who work on short term game and quickly move on to the next opportunity, they’ll hold on to the asset and will want to see rents slowly increase over time. That means creating a place which will last and where people will want to live, not just invest. Therefore the public realm and amenities on offer should be far greater, creating a real sense of community.

The big money now entering this purpose built PRS market which includes private equity, institutions and pension fund cash will not only add to London’s housing supply, they’ll want to see a long term return on their investment. If that means creating desirable places which people want to call home, that can only be a good thing.

With all that in mind below are some renders of Greenford Green, a former GSK site in Greenford. Greystar are currently consulting locals on their plans with 2,000+ homes expected, the majority for the PRS market.

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The site currently.

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And some images of the current buildings on site.

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About Paul Wellman

Follow Paul for commentary and updates on the London Residential Market on twitter here @PaulWellman_EG

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