Future bright as Birmingham renters embrace BTR

Birmingham’s build-to-rent sector is booming as generation rent embraces the many benefits of living in energy efficient homes that offer a range of facilities including gyms, co-working amenities, EV charging and parking, according to new research by property specialist Centrick. Centrick, which was established in 2005, specialises in Building & Estate Management, BTR Portfolio Management, PRS Portfolio Management and Professional Service & Valuation in addition to Land, New Homes and Investment services.

The Love Where You Live research takes an in-depth look at Britain’s booming build-to-rent (BTR) market, the factors driving its growth, and why some renters and investors are turning their backs on the traditional private rented sector in favour of high quality, purpose-built BTR developments.

Unlike traditional apartment buildings, BTR properties focus on creating engaged, fully rounded communities with amenities and features like screening rooms, private dining facilities, hosting kitchens, residents’ lounges and bookable services built in, says the Love Where You Live research published by national property specialists Centrick.

The report says Birmingham is one of the UK’s key BTR centres. With a young population, thriving culture and opportunities which are pulling people away from the capital and towards the West Midlands, it’s no wonder Birmingham has attracted an abundance of interest from developers.

New BTR schemes are beginning to take shape across the city – from Moda on Broad Street to The Corkfield, to upcoming developments at Great Charles Street, Snow Hill and in the Jewellery Quarter.

What’s more, with Birmingham attracting the most BTR investment over the last year outside London, we expect the future to be bright for England’s second city. Birmingham‘s sales market shows little sign of abating with property values predicted to see over 19% growth to 2027.

It is this growth in market values, as well as limitations in affordable supply, that is driving both the BTRand PRS sector forward. Birmingham residents show a higher than average willingness to pay more for gym and fitness facilities, with over 40% of responders willing to pay for this feature, the highest of the surveyed regions.

Although BTR residents in Birmingham are more likely to have access to this feature, they were also more willing to pay for it (44%) than their PRS counterparts (17%). This suggests that BTR residents in Birmingham both value and utilise this feature more heavily than other regions. Gym and fitness facilities, whilst high on the perceived value scale, only ranked 11th in terms of importance with only 56% of responders in Birmingham identifying this as ‘important’ or ‘very important’ and marking them out as a value-add in a crowded market.

Birmingham also showed the lowest levels of satisfaction with employment and local job opportunities of all regions, with just 65% of responders stating they were ‘very’ or ‘somewhat satisfied’ in contrast to the national average of 71% and whilst 14% of Birmingham residents would be willing to pay a higher rent for dedicated co-working spaces over 60% ranked this as either somewhat or very important to them. Despite this, 47.95% of Birmingham residents plan to stay in their current rental property for 12 months or more before considering moving. Residents identifying as currently living in a BTR property also have a significantly higher Net Promoter Score than other regions, boasting the highest level of satisfaction.

According to the report, the combination of energy efficient homes and community features is working, with just 1 in 10 current BTR residents considering going back to the private rented sector.

Energy efficiency has emerged as the most important factor when choosing a new home as renters continue to grapple with the cost of living crisis, according to a major report on the future of build-to-rent (BTR) and private rented sector property (PRS) in the UK.

Over 83% of renters in both BTR and PRS property reported that energy efficiency was important to them in their rental property with the availability of garden space and lounge/socialising space completing the renters top three wish-list.  Parking and pet friendliness ranked 4th and 5th respectively says the research.

The research and report focuses on six cities – London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield and Southampton – where BTR is increasing rapidly in popularity with a wide demographic of residents opting to rent instead of buy.  The research suggests that renters have significant and varied preferences, with generational and locational trends emerging strongly. Renters show a significant propensity for choice and movement, with over 50% of renters planning to move from their current property within the next 12 months.

Key findings include:

Birmingham – 87% of renters satisfied or very satisfied with current amenities.

Manchester – Most likely to value pet friendliness.

Sheffield – 40% of renters willing to pay more for parking.

London – 88% of renters get on well or very well with the neighbours.

Liverpool – 36% of renters willing to pay more for EV charging facilities.

Southampton – 29% residents planning to stay put for 18+ months.

Centrick founder James Ackrill said:

“In recent years, the residential real estate landscape has witnessed the transformative trend known as Build to Rent housing. This innovative approach to housing investment, construction and management has swiftly emerged as a dynamic and relevant force in the housing market.

“Our objective is to dig into real world trends from real renters and explore the path forward for both those who seek to invest in BTR developments and those who aspire to call them home. This study is driven by the recognition that BTR is more than a mere housing solution; it is a concept that, when well-executed, can redefine the way we relate to the places we live. It carries the potential to create not just spaces, but communities where people feel a genuine connection to their surroundings, fostering a sense of belonging and happiness in their daily lives.”

He added:

“Love Where You Live is more than a research paper; it’s a testament to the transformative power of home, and a celebration of the boundless potential of Build to Rent housing in redefining the way we live, love, and create our lives in the future.”

The study also asked which amenities and features residents would be willing to pay a higher rent for. Parking ranked most highly with 38.69% of responders citing this as the singular feature they would be willing to pay more for. Garden space and energy efficiency also featured highly at 37% and 36% respectively, echoing what respondents cited as their most important features. Gym and fitness facilities and EV charging are cited at positions four and five respectively.

With over 80% of residents surveyed responding that energy efficiency was important or very important, it is obvious that this is the key feature for the majority of renters across both BTR and PRS when considering their next move.  In fact, a mere 5.59% of responders stated that energy efficiency was “not important at all”, a testament to the importance of energy costs and sustainability to all residents. Birmingham-based Centrick, which also has offices in London, Manchester, Sheffield, Gerrards Cross and Fareham has grown consistently since its inception by successfully prioritising innovation, expertise, and building trusted relationships with its clients to deliver high quality service and results. First opening its doors in 2005, the agency now has over 23,500 properties across the UK on its books and manages over £3.5 billion in client assets.