During the last two years London’s BTR sector seems to have reached an uncanny level of stability - the headline numbers describing the sector during 2017 very closely match those for 2016. In both years, give or take a hundred units or so:
- 5,400 units were sold or committed to the BTR sector.
- 4,500 BTR units commenced construction.
- 3,500 BTR units completed construction.
However, 2016 was unusual in that two thirds of BTR units that completed during the year were in GPDO office-to residential conversion schemes that had started during the 2015 GPDO boom.
Meanwhile 2017 was unusual in that two fifths of BTR units completed during the year were located within Inner London - the norm is one fifth. This probably has something to do with softening figures from the wider Inner London sales figures since 2013 - four of the largest BTR blocks to complete during 2017 originally went under construction as ‘build to sell’.
As a result, BTR blocks from the class of 2017 include some of the most distinctive offerings from the sector to date - Essential Living, Get Living London, Greystar and Regal Homes have all opened new Inner London outlets that are worthy of note.
Of course this is not to say that nothing of significance has completed in Outer London during 2017 - M&G, Grainger, Quintain, Fizzy Living and Aitch Group have all launched ground breaking outlets in outer boroughs.
It is fair to say that BTR units completed during 2017 generally tend to be more expensive to rent than those completed in 2016, but let-up rates suggest that there is demand across the rental spectrum.
Looking ahead, 2018 should yield another crop of distinctive BTR developments - Realstar’s flagship development at Elephant and Castle completed in January and is a good first example.