These Are The 10 Biggest Players In The UK Build-To-Rent Market
The build-to-rent sector in the UK is new and growing fast, and it is starting to become clear which companies are achieving the genuine scale needed to run rented residential businesses efficiently and profitably.
Ahead of the second Build-To-Rent Annual Conference on 5 June, Bisnow decided to produce a bit of data which is surprisingly difficult to find: the 10 largest players in the sector.
These are the 10 firms with the largest overall portfolios of purpose-built rental stock, which includes completed units, and those under construction and in the development pipeline, according to data from Savills. These are the big beasts you need to know.
London & Quadrant
The biggest player in the UK BTR sector is not a commercial company but a housing association. Housing associations have embraced BTR as a way of complementing their social and affordable housing offer, and boosting income at a time of government cuts. L&Q has 2,404 completed BTR units, 185 under construction and 4,643 at various stages of the planning process, making 7,232 in total.
Sigma Capital does BTR differently. Rather than the large blocks of apartments that make up the vast majority of rented residential accommodation, it builds and owns single-family homes, very much targeting the low price mass market. It does this through both private vehicles and a REIT it created to own completed assets, PRS REIT, which has a market capitalisation of almost £500M. Sigma has a portfolio of 7,173 units, with 2,150 completed, 1,749 under construction and 3,274 in planning. It has a target of 20,000 units.
Get Living was one of the pioneers in the UK BTR sector. Set up by Delancey, it bought the Athletes’ Village on the London 2012 Olympic Park in Stratford and converted it to a rented residential scheme. It has since spread across the capital and the rest of the UK, with schemes at the Elephant & Castle in South London, Manchester, Glasgow and Leeds. The platform was originally backed by Qatari Diar, other investors including APG and Oxford Properties have since bought stakes, and it is looking to raise further equity. It has 1,812 complete units, 1,282 under construction and 3,779 in planning, making 6,873 in total.
In 2015 Lone Star took private developer Quintain and made a radical decision: The 5,500-unit scheme the company was building for sale in Wembley would be converted almost entirely to BTR, instantly making Wembley Park the largest BTR scheme in the country. The 85-acre scheme could have an end value of as much as £3B. At Wembley 556 units have been completed, 2,196 are under construction and there is planning for a further 3,000, making 5,752 in total.
Asif Aziz’s private property company Criterion Capital is one of the more low-key names on the list, but it is significant nonetheless: It manages 1,348 completed units, having shifted the focus of its business early in the genesis of BTR to concentrate on the emerging asset class. It has no units under construction but a planning pipeline of a further 3,372, making for 4,720 units in total.
Grainger has long been one of the UK’s largest residential landlords across various types of tenure, and has become one of the largest BTR developers. It recently won a mandate to become the joint venture partner for Transport for London for multiple sites above and around transport hubs in London. It has a total of 4,692 BTR units, 1,201 completed, 2,693 under construction and 798 at various stages of the planning process.
Legal & General
Insurance company L&G is one of the investors that has embraced residential in all its forms most fully: It is a big investor in social and affordable housing, student accommodation and senior living, and has built its own modular construction factory. In BTR, it has only 225 completed units but a big pipeline, including 2,173 under construction and 1,280 in planning, making for 3,678 in total.
Apache Capital and Moda Living
Apache and Moda have been innovators in the BTR sector, especially outside of London. Their scheme in Birmingham will be funded by Goldman Sachs’ first loan to a BTR scheme, and they are offering residents free Uber credits if they choose not to take up a parking space. None of their schemes are yet completed but they have 1,772 units under construction and 1,569 in the planning process, making 3,341 in total.
Invesco and JV partners
Invesco is one of the institutional fund managers that has embraced BTR most enthusiastically; perhaps its U.S. roots gave it comfort due to a familiarity with that country’s mature multifamily sector. It has teamed up with various JV partners including Meyer Bergman and Ecoworld. It has 904 completed units, 1,388 under construction and 597 in planning, making for 2,889 in total.
Greystar is another American firm who spotted the opportunity for a UK rented residential sector early — it entered the student housing market in the UK in 2013 as a bridgehead to the wider BTR sector. It is building the world’s tallest modular housing tower in Croydon, among several other schemes. It has 120 completed units, 1,782 under construction and 894 in the planning process, making 2,796 in total.
To hear from most of these companies and many other of the key players in the UK BTR sector, come to the Build-To-Rent Annual Conference at Wembley Park on 5 June.