Build to Rent (BTR) and the Scottish Housing Scene

By August 12, 2021No Comments

There are twice as many Build to Rent (BTR) homes planned for Glasgow than there is for Edinburgh, and just a quarter earmarked for Scotland’s third largest city, Aberdeen. Dundee, meanwhile, has less than 50 and a second planned development has fallen through.

Despite being hailed as a potential saviour for the country’s housing crisis, the number of public-private partnership-run BTR developments being built north of the border is no-where near that of England. Of the total 7,200 BTR homes built in Scotland, 4,000 are in Glasgow, 2,000 in Edinburgh and 1,000 in Aberdeen. That works out at less than 2% of the total number of private rented homes. In England BTR makes up 3% of the Private Rental Sector (PRS) and in London it’s a whopping 9%.

BTR producing general city-wide economic boost

The figures are from a paper Alternative Housing Tenures published last month by the Scottish Government. This was followed up by estate agency Rettie & Co whose director of research and strategy is John Boyle. He pointed out that as well as easing the housing crisis, these BTR partnerships were also resulting in high value construction contracts, with Glasgow alone producing an economic impact of around half a billion pounds. Another benefit is that they are forcing other landlords in the PRS to ‘up’ their game, in the knowledge they are going to have to offer high-quality accommodation in an effort to compete with BTR provision.

The majority of BTR housing developments are not only high-quality and boast the latest in sustainable design, but they often include access to a gym, resident parking and communal areas such as a garden and/or terrace. Some even boast shared co-workspaces and a film lounge. All are professionally managed, usually on-site. The larger BTR developments include schools, parks and retail outlets nearby.

Location of major BTR developments in Scotland

Edinburgh. Currently boasting 236 units, the Capital’s BTR homes are spread across three developments: 48 apartments at Springside, 113 at Lochrin Quay, and 75 at McDonald Road (a conversion of the former Broughton High School building). The Springside development is in the Fountainbridge Masterplan area where there are plans for an eventual 500 BTR homes. Lochrin Quay is also located in the Fountainbridge Masterplan area. All of the BTR homes are a mix of one, two and four-bedroom residencies and are fully-furnished. Most have minimum tenancies of three years.

Glasgow. In Scotland’s largest city there are 368 BTR homes at Candleriggs Court. A further 2,246 homes have planning permission with yet another 1,524 units currently in the planning or pre-planning stage. These are centred around Holland Park (400 BTR homes), Candleriggs (300 homes) and the Merchant City (600 homes).

Aberdeen. The city was the first Scottish city to feel the emergence of BTR. That was at The Forbes Place development – a mixed community of 292 apartments and townhouses.

Dundee. Not to feel left-out, the city famous for Jute, Jam and Journalism, also has plans for BTR. A total of 117 flats (39 studios, 37 1-beds and 41 2-beds) are provisionally marked-out for a forthcoming Waterfront redevelopment.

What this means for Sourced frachisees in Scotland is plenty of opportunities in a growing Build to Rent sector. And one which is definitely worth keeping an eye on.

Chris Kirkwood

Chris Kirkwood

Development Director, Sourced.