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Many more homes of every type need to be built, including significantly more rental properties, to meet the high levels of demand, according to the housing minister, Gavin Barwell. He has said that the number of new houses needed in the UK cannot be achieved without investment in the private rental sector. Speaking at Property Week’s RESI conference, the MP said there has already been impressive growth in the rental market, but this needs to be expanded further to make sure the sector is thriving. With more people living in rented properties, he said the build-to-rent sector will have an even more important role in making sure enough homes are available. At present, demand is outstripping supply in many areas, which is forcing up prices or meaning tenants are having to accept properties which are not suitable for them.

His comments have been welcomed by Angus Dodd, of property investment and development company, Quintain. He agreed that the build-to-rent sector can play an important part in providing affordable homes of a high quality across Britain. Although it is still a fairly new industry in the UK, investors and lenders are keen to back build-to-rent developments. However, the planning process can be problematic and so Mr Dodd called on the government to streamline the planning process, so that new homes can be built more quickly. He said he wanted to see local authorities be more flexible, so that developers can adapt the interiors of their build-to-rent properties, so they can change unit sizes and take into account common amenities.

Recently, growth in the bespoke build-to-rent market has been expanding. For instance, the new Vantage Point development in London has 118 bespoke apartments with panoramic views. These include penthouses, studios and one or two-bedroom apartments, which are just one minute walk from Archway underground station.

This is an interesting sector for investment, with 60,139 build-to-rent units either being built or in the planning stage across Britain, according to the British Property Federation. Of these, 30,844 are in London and account for one in five new housing starts. Indeed, build-to-let could become more favourable than buy-to-let because Generation Rent is demanding purpose-built rental properties. As more people move into rented properties because they cannot afford to buy, a new solution is needed to meet their needs. Property consultancy, Savills, show that 17,500 families or households are moving into rented properties every month. More people are having to rely on rental accommodation with build-to-rent being seen as an attractive option.