When building a development that people want to live in, there is no single formula for success. After all, there is no one ‘type’ of BTR tenant to appeal to. Evidence from the Homeview Satisfaction Survey 2023 indicates that this format of rental property is welcoming increasing numbers of families and retirees as well as maintaining its appeal to younger tenants, single working professionals and couples. Each of these types of households have different needs and preferences. However, there are a number of factors that are broadly deemed as being desirable to all tenants across the UK. These include choosing a prime location, premium amenities, strong community and variety of options. In this piece, Centrick will be exploring how the aforementioned features can increase the appeal of your development to create a community that people want to live in.
When building a development that people want to live in, location should be your first thought. After all, location will most likely be your tenant’s first thought and primary criteria when searching for their next home. Many property search tools such as Rightmove and Zoopla request an approximate location as part of their search criteria. Location is so important to BTR tenants that Rightmove note that although the typical search area for a tenant looking for a PRS unit is 97km2, it is just 33km2 for BTR. This suggests that developers ought to be careful when choosing which areas to invest and develop in.
It Is important to consider the broader community when it comes to placing a BTR development. Your construction must work with, not against, the wider community in which it is set. For example, placing a high-rise development in the suburbs, or a student-targeted development in a primarily senior neighbourhood, will both alienate the locals and deter searching tenants. While this may seem obvious, it can be overlooked when searching for untapped opportunities for development. In the same vein, tenants must be able to easily access all of the amenities they need to go about their daily lives. Consider proximity to hospitals and GP surgeries, and corner shops and supermarkets. Transport links are also important to tenants. Research from Savills indicates that 52% of tenants live within 5 minutes of a commuter route, allowing tenants greater access to key business hubs, shopping facilities and amenities more further afield. Proximity to the aforementioned facilities will undoubtedly appeal to tenants by offering optimal convenience.
The unique selling (or renting) point of build to rent properties is the community feel. Social events, shared workspaces and gardens all offer opportunities for tenants to come together, share their common interests and thrive in their community. These benefits are not often felt in PRS units, where most households do not experience opportunities to interact with one another in a designated social setting. At VICI, Centrick focus on community as a primary pillar of a good tenant experience. By using community management tools like Heyhub, we create real interactions and a long standing, cohesive community. So, when creating a development that tenants truly want to live in, it is important to focus on this unique community aspect that is not typically offered via traditional rental structures.
Build to rent communities each have distinct identities and can become aspirational developments that represent a type of lifestyle. Promoting this sense of community via tailored marketing can help developers create an address that people aspire to be part of. Your development could be the perfect haven for pet owners with nearby parks and animal daycare facilities; the ideal home for fitness fanatics with extensive gym equipment and rooftop running tracks; or an ultra-convenient hybrid-working hub with communal work-spaces, free WiFi and coffee machines. Whatever your BTR development’s community and identity hinges on, being clear and concise in your marketing and branding to promote this can not only help you create a development that people want to live in, but can attract the correct type of tenants.
Want to learn more about marketing your BTR development to achieve the best results? Check out our blog on how brand and marketing can make or break a development’s success.
Speaking of make-or-break aspects that drive the success of your development, amenities are incredibly important in attracting tenants. We’ve already touched upon how amenities provide hubs for community interaction by creating communal spaces that create a ‘neighbourhood’ feel. However, premium facilities do so much more to attract tenants.
Firstly, they create value for money for your tenants. Rather than paying for separate gym memberships, hot desks, and broadband, many BTR developments offer these facilities as-standard. This helps tenants by reducing their living costs significantly. Similarly, many BTR developments are situated in inner-city hotspots where demand for rental property is high. This reduces the need to commute long distances from nearby towns and suburbs into the city for work or leisure. For many residents, this eliminates the need for them to have vehicles at all. This is particularly appealing in the current cost of living crisis which has seen many tenants have to restrict their budgets.
Secondly, premium facilities make your BTR development stand out from the crowd. At the time of writing, there are 113,379 BTR units in the pipeline, making this an increasingly competitive space. Developers therefore need to start thinking about how their amenities set them apart from their competitors and make their development the best option for searching tenants. Offering a gym and a concierge simply won’t cut it anymore. After all, 97% of all BTR developments offer concierge services and over 40% offer gym facilities. As such, these features are more ‘standard’ than ‘exceptional’. In order to create a development that people want to live in, developers need to focus on making their amenities unique, of premium quality, or both. For example, regular gym facilities won’t stand out in the increasingly competitive BTR market. Instead, premium and unique facilities such as Moda’s rooftop running track are the best way to make your development stand out.
Developers should diversify the types of unit they offer to appeal to as many tenants as possible. Even if you want to appeal to a specific demographic of tenant, such as young city-centre working professionals, you must anticipate that each tenant will have different needs and budgets. Studies carried out by the British Property Federation indicate that the range of tenants that live in BTR developments is immensely varied in terms of careers, income and household composition. Some will live with partners, some may live alone, others may have pets or children. Each situation warrants a different form of living space. Whereas some tenants will be best suited to an apartment, others may want the benefit of an additional bedroom or office space, and others may want better access to garden space if they have children or pets. Providing a broad range of units will appeal to more prospective tenants and create a development that more people want to live in. This variety will also contribute to a more diverse community, bringing together individuals with different careers, different family sizes and dynamics, and different budgets. Want to nail your variety of rental units? Centrick’s team of BTR experts are on hand to support early development and operational research.
VICI by Centrick is a comprehensive platform that we designed to simplify and streamline your road to BTR success. With over 15 years of hands-on experience in creating exceptional experiences for tenants and impressive revenue for investors, we understand precisely what tenants across the UK are looking for, and how this can best be delivered for maximum impact. Want more information on how the VICI team can catapult the appeal of your BTR development? Want to create accommodation that yields the results you’re looking for? Fill out the form below and a member of our team will be in touch.
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