It has taken a while but it feels as if the stage has finally been reached where use of the term "BTR" does not require an explanation of the acronym. Build to rent projects in Scotland are at various stages of completion, occupation, under construction and in the pipeline. With that has come a perceptible shift in how BTR is perceived in the Scottish property market.
Ultimately, acceptability and understanding of BTR was always going to rely on the tangible - being able to look, feel and try the BTR product rather than merely hypothesizing about what impact it might have on a community or neighbourhood. What's not to like about well-constructed, professionally managed homes in areas keen to embrace new housing and create communities?
We are involved in many of the current consented BTR schemes across Scotland. Worthy of note is the move away from a sole focus on the affluent young professional market and the recognition that BTR has the potential to fulfil a range of housing needs. This is perfectly demonstrated by two schemes that we are currently involved in - Buchanan Wharf, Glasgow and Fair Acres, Dunbar.
The city centre development BTR scheme at Buchanan Wharf by Drum Property Group and L&G is part of the wider regeneration project encompassing commercial and residential development. It will provide 324 units at open market rent. This can be contrasted with the midmarket BTR development at Fair Acres in Dunbar which has used an innovative delivery and funding mechanism to facilitate the delivery of 50 new homes. The homes will be held by Co-op Pension Scheme as site owner, with a lease in place to East Lothian Council who will then let the properties on a midmarket rental basis to qualifying residents. The Council will acquire ownership of the homes at the expiry of the agreed Lease period.
Challenges remain for the development of BTR, not least the planning and funding of prospective schemes. However as demand for new homes continues, it is anticipated that BTR will develop into an established part of the residential sector.
Tracey Menzies is chairing a panel session at the Build to Rent Forum Scotland in Glasgow, on 9th October.
Read our full guide to Build to Rent in Scotland.