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Major housebuilder switches to renting, not selling homes

berkeley homes

Housebuilder Berkeley has announced its ambition to become a big player in the build-to-rent market amid sluggish demand from buyers.

It plans to rent out 4,000 new homes across 17 of its brownfield regeneration sites in London and the South East as the initial step in a 10-year strategy - an increase of 10% on top of its current construction forecasts.

Berkeley explains that there is strong, unsatisfied demand for quality residential rental property built at scale in and around London, the country’s most under-supplied market, from institutional capital.

It adds: “Having sold over 1,000 homes across five sites in the last three years to institutional investors on a forward commitment basis, we now believe that adopting a more strategic route to this market will drive best value for these assets by creating a portfolio of scale, professionally managed, with proven income levels stabilised prior to disposal.”

High levels

Berkeley says it plans to lock in build costs early in the investment cycle and, by drawing on its experience in 2011-2014 when it developed and managed a portfolio of 900 homes, plans to create its own operating and management platform to provide tenants with high levels of customer service.

The platform will ensure that Berkeley can dispose of the properties individually or in stand-alone blocks at any time over the next decade.

The move comes as Berkeley announced its pre-tax profits had fallen 7.7% to £557 million in the year to April, with sales in the private market running about a third lower than the year before — but in line with expectations.

What does build to rent mean for buy to let?


Build to rent