07 August 2017
Reporter: Theo Andrew

Build to rent spotlight shines on Midlands

The build to rent (BtR) sector in the Midlands has been given a boost with the announcement of new schemes in Birmingham and Leicester totalling £128 million.

Patrizia has acquired four acres of land adjacent to Edgbaston Stadium in Birmingham for an £85 million development, while Long Harbour and the Sowden Group completed £43 million of forward funding for 297 BtR homes in Leicester’s city centre.

The Birmingham scheme will develop 375 homes in partnership with Warwickshire County Cricket Club and the Homes and Communities Area, subject to planning and local consents.

Located 10 minutes from the city centre, the development will consist of two plots with ground floor retail units and resident parking.

Arcadis listed both the East and the West Midlands as ‘hot spots’ in its Build To Rent, Pushing the Boundaries report, due to the greater number of local authorities able to support BtR schemes.

The announcement follows Patrizia’s mixed-use development in Manchester as it targets urban centres with strong demographic fundamentals, according to James Muir, managing director in the UK and Ireland.

In Leicester, Vaughan Way sits within a strategic regeneration area, opposite the extension of the High Cross shopping centre, and is expected to be delivered in 2019.

Long Harbour will retain ownership of the scheme through its institutional PRS fund, Long Harbour Income funds.

It is the first acquisition for the alternative real asset manager in the East Midlands, and having forward funded a 206-unit scheme in Birmingham last year, its investment into PRS now stands in excess of £355 million.

A spokesperson for Long Harbour said: “Leicester has seen growth in both the economy and population in recent years with limited housing delivered in the past 10 years. This has put pressure on housing supply with limited choice for those looking to rent close to the city centre.”

“There has been growing interest in Leicester from corporate occupiers and having an affordable rental option for their employees will help to further attract commercial investment into the city too.”

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