Yesterday morning we had the pleasure of attending the Place North West Build-to-Rent 2022 conference, held at the Science and Industry Museum in Deansgate, Manchester.
Just a short walk from our head office on Oxford Street, our team enjoyed presentations by some of the leading names in the Build-to-Rent (BTR) industry, including a highly insightful talk on ‘place-making’ and how to build community spaces within PRS and co-living schemes by Catalina Ionita of architects Chapman and Taylor, and an informative presentation on the performance of the build-to-rent sector throughout 2021 and predictions for its future by Ian Scott of Martin Property Group.
Opening the conference, Ian Scott explored the Build-to-Rent market in the UK, covering some of the successful examples in the sector, discussing the necessity to have amenities available to residents in developments, and how the BTR sector remains the most successful housing sector in the UK, thanks to extraordinary levels of occupational demand across all markets, it’s capabilities to be ESG friendly and its safety as an investment asset class. Touching on topics such as how the Build-to-Rent sector maintains a fine balance between luxury apartments and on-site facilities, and the rise of lifestyle renters, Ian also noted that Manchester continues to be the BTR capital of the UK, with proven demand and success achieved in the sector within the city, and most of the benchmark data coming from schemes within Manchester.
Following Ian’s presentation, he joined other industry representatives from schemes in Manchester, on a panel that shared insights into the future challenges of the sector, the pent-up demand within the rental market for Build-to-Rent residential offerings, and how BTR schemes can create communities within larger cities at the building level. When asked about the necessity of amenities within a building, the panel acknowledged that ambiguous spaces that can transform to suit a myriad of needs are what have made previous schemes so well received and that people are what activate spaces, not what you put in them.
“If you’ve got a good product, pent up demand, and a good operational platform, which is key, really understand your market, what they’re looking for, and how their needs are evolving, then you are in a prime position.”
After a short break, we returned to an insightful presentation by Catalina Ionita, which explored how spaces can, and are, created for the benefit of residents within a building, and how to foster a community within a city by being inclusive of everyone’s needs whilst utilising transformative spaces to suit the residents. Discussing how to put residents at the heart of a property development at the architectural stage, Catalina noted that community-led spaces resulted in higher occupancy levels and higher rents due to the demand for such a product in the city centre, which our in-house lettings team experience every year. Concluding her presentation with her thoughts on how the sector should continue to evolve, Catalina also acknowledged that the approach to the BTR sector should always be Design-to-Rent; putting the residents at the heart of the research and development process to ensure that the buildings and spaces created reflect what the modern resident is searching for, which aligns with our tenant-centric approach to development that we have successfully implemented over the last 20 years.
If you want to know more about the topics discussed at the conference or learn more about what investments we have available in Manchester, then get in touch with our expert property consultants today.