Where to live in London

  • 24th May 22
Where to live in London

London is the largest city in the UK so the options of where to live should be endless. But there is a crisis in the housing sector with a lack of affordable, high-quality rental accommodation. A new report highlights why Build to Rent is part of the solution.

Why live in London

With more European headquarters than any other city, London is regularly voted as one of the world’s best cities to live and work. Of course, the capital is known for its culture, theatre, nightlife, and food scene but did you know that London has been named the greenest UK city? This is based on a combination of nature, transport, emissions, and sustainability. In fact, 47% of its land area is green space in the form of parks, gardens, and woodlands.

Rental demand in London

According to estate agents Foxtons, there has been a huge increase in demand for rental homes in the capital, pushing rents to an all-time high. This rental demand is very strong, increasing by 56% year on year from 2020 to 2021 and more than doubling since 2018. After the dip during the pandemic, rents in Zone 1 have now risen and are 14% higher than pre-pandemic levels.

The Build to Rent boom

Although still relatively new, the word is out now about Build to Rent and what it means to live in a professionally managed home. Renters have a greater understanding of the sector and the value that it offers in terms of all the additional facilities such as gyms and co-working spaces as well as the huge lifestyle advantages of having a carefully curated community on your doorstep. Although professionals in the 25 to 34 age brackets are key to growing the Build to Rent sector, there are many other people from different ages and walks of life that have discovered the benefits of having complete control over their rental journey. Singles, couples, downsizers, and families are being introduced to the concept, helping to build momentum further.

What do London tenants want?

With work and leisure patterns changing, people can spend more time at home, but want to do it surrounded by likeminded people and sociable spaces. According to Foxtons, Londoners continue to be very mobile. More than a third of their tenants rented in a different part of London to where they initially registered interest. Build to Rent gives tenants ultimate choice, by offering flexible tenancies so you are not tied down once you sign on. Foxtons research has found that most tenants want to be within a 45-minute commute of their workplace but once they understand the benefits of Build to Rent, many are happy to increase this commute to enjoy the additional facilities that they are offered. Today’s tenants want their demands to be taking care of quickly and have a good and consistent level of communication, services that the Build to Rent sector prides itself on.

Affordable and long-term quality

A new report called Who lives in Build to Rent? by London First in partnership with British Property Federation, Dataloft and UKApartment Association analysed twenty developments across London, revealing that Build to Rent could help renters find affordable, high-quality homes with a range of amenities. The report showed that 95% of Build to Rent schemes offer tenants a three-year lease. The data also reveals that this is an affordable option for a range of tenants from singles to families with incomes fairly similar to those living in the private rented sector. The report showed that 27% of Build to Rent tenants earn between £26,000 to £38,000 compared to 26% in the private rental market. Additional research from the report revealed that within the twenty Build to Rent schemes, 66% of residents were couples or sharers, compared to 51% in the private rented sector. Most interestingly, Build to Rent has comparable levels of affordability to the private rented sector for all tenancy types.

What are the experts saying?

​“There is sometimes a perception that Build to Rent is not accessible to many tenants, but this report demonstrates that the sector is able to meet the needs of Londoners at whatever stage in life they’re at, including for those with families,” Stephanie Pollitt, Programme Director for Housing at London First.

“The gathering pace of the sector means that all across London we can look to Build to Rent as a genuine source of additional housing delivered faster than other solutions and with a greater focus on residents’ needs and aspirations,” Dave Butler, CEO, UKAA.

“Build to Rent is delivering an unparalleled renting experience to a diverse range of Londoners – high quality, professionally managed, affordable and tenure-secure homes with access to amenities included,” James Simondson, Assistant Director of Policy, BPF.



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