Woods Bagot’s London studio advises Australian residential market on Build to Rent

Principal and Global Sector Leader for Residential Jonathan Clarke and Associate Principal Simon Saint from Woods Bagot’s London residential team have completed a two-week tour of Australia sharing their knowledge of the build-to-rent (BTR) market in the UK. Earmarked as the next global location to adopt the rental model with an estimated $300 billion investment forecasted1, the London team visited two of Australia’s largest cities, Melbourne and Sydney to educate key players in the Australian property market and decision makers.

Key to Woods Bagot’s success in the BTR market in the UK is their commitment to people focused design and this was a key message during their time in Australia. A relatively new phenomenon in the UK, Build to Rent is creating 95,918 new homes2 and has changed the landscape for urban cities, supporting a global shift in people’s views on home ownership. Jonathan comments on the change in approach for citymakers and developers: “This is a new model for city living which demands a new approach to marketing, funding and management; BTR operators need to think of their portfolio as a brand and something that people will want to come and be a part of”.

In addition to end user based design, Jonathan and Simon argued that amenities are integral to the success of BTR schemes. Jonathan comments on the importance of flexibility; “It is essential for end users and the durability of BTR that these homes provide personality and flexible amenities that contribute to the community. Developers need to create flexible space which can be modified with the emergence of new trends and they need to understand their tenants’ mindsets to keep them from jumping ship to another scheme”.

Simon argued that this end user focus needs to stretch to every generation; “Build to rent schemes shouldn’t just be for the younger communities. In the UK, retirement living has also seen a big change in mindset and the housing market is needing to adapt to this quickly. Retirees no longer want to be miles away from a city and in their own little bubble, they want to enjoy being part of a community and live the same lifestyle they have been accustomed to. Creating communities that can interact with one another is also key to Build to Rent schemes”.

In addition to meeting with State Government agencies, Jonathan and Simon met with Western Australia’s Minister for Housing, the Honourable Peter Tinley AM MLA, the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage and the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority, as well as speaking at the build-to-rent Property Council of Australia Business Lunch in Sydney.

Woods Bagot London designed projects for both Quintain and Essential Living and conducted extensive research into the rental model. For further information, visit the following link.