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‘Generation Rent’ grows up

Living and working in the North West, it’s easy to think that the build-to-rent sector has been around forever. Logik Managing Director Neil Spencer discusses the future of the sector and the evolution of 'generation rent'.

In Manchester, the surge of PRS development is changing the city’s skyline on a daily basis. The truth, however, is though the private rented sector can account for many of the cranes seen around urban centres in the region, it is still a fairly new investment market. Some of the first build-to-rent schemes have now completed across the country and early feedback indicates that ‘Generation Rent’ is alive and growing. In our major cities, developers and local authorities alike view the market as underpinning city-wide growth, and quite rightly so, with young professionals being lured to the region from the capital by employment opportunities, improving transport links and amenities, as well as better affordability.

With the sector still in its infancy, tenant demand is yet to impact greatly on design, but as the sector matures it is this that will be the measure of success for future schemes. The market will need to evolve to ensure it considers all potential tenants – from young professional couples to families with small children; and the opportunities to diversify the market for these different groups will be immense.

What this means for now is that investors and developers need to bring forward build-to-rent schemes that anticipate tenant behaviours and crucially, can create or contribute to communities. Already we’ve seen the value of mixed-use schemes – we know young professionals want to live in vibrant areas, close to excellent transport links, while for families, access to green space and amenities is key. If long-term private rented living continues to become an alternative to home owning, as is expected, these benefits will prove even more vital.

The comprehensive regeneration happening around Manchester city centre’s Southern Gateway is a great example of this sustainable approach to development, where residential, commercial and leisure space is coming together to create a new community for the city. As more build-to-rent schemes come to completion, it will almost certainly be those offering far more than an apartment block that will fair best.