Acquisition puts Leeds in Build to Rent Spotlight

The latest site acquisition by a leading UK property capital group suggests that Leeds could be the next big city to experience a Build to Rent boom.

Legal & General has bought a Build To Rent (BTR) site in the centre of Leeds, marking the fifth UK city to which it will bring its new rental offer.

Build-to-rent developers and investors make three year tenancies the norm

This latest investment brings L&G’s total pipeline of BTR units to over 1,400 with an expected gross development value across the portfolio of £420m.

The Leeds site, Mustard Wharf, has been acquired from U+I in partnership with CTP, and has permission for 250 homes as well as 8,640 sq ft of commercial and amenity space.

L&G’s total investment capability for the Build to Rent (BTR) sector currently stands at circa £1 billion, having raised capital from major pension funds for an open-ended Build to Rent (BTR) fund, as well as a £600 million JV investment by Legal & General Capital and PGGM. Its existing sites in Bristol, Bath and Walthamstow are progressing well and its first scheme in Salford is due to welcome its first residents at the start of June.

L&G is involved in housing creation across the spectrum, backing a fast growing pipeline of over 70,000 new homes over the next five to ten years.

James Lidgate, Director of Housing at Legal & General Capital, said:

“This latest acquisition supports our vision of investing in long-term sustainable urban schemes that support wider urban regeneration to transform and reshape Britain’s landscape, bringing jobs and housing back into the centre of cities and better utilising our existing infrastructure. When complete, Mustard Wharf will provide well-connected, high-quality housing which is essential for supporting the UK’s economic position and driving future growth.”

Meanwhile, prime London property transactions are on the up at the start of 2017.

According to Strutt & Parker’s Residential Quarterly report for Q1, transactions have increased across Prime Central London (PCL) for the past three quarters.

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London has historically been the primary driver of national house price growth, but in 2016, the region was outperformed by the Outer South East, East Anglia and the South West regions.

Vanessa Hale, Partner in Research at Strutt & Parker, said:

“UK house prices grew 4.1 per cent year on year to Q1 2017 but in PCL it was a very different story and prices fell by approximately 7 per cent in 2016, leaving values around 13 per cent down from the 2014 peak. The first quarter of 2017 has however seen a slight upturn in purchaser activity and realistically priced, good quality stock is selling reasonably well.”

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