Is the UK falling behind in the global build-to-rent market?

Warren Lewis
26th March 2019
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Despite renting seeing an increase across the UK, new research has suggested that we are still behind on the build-to-rent trend compared to the US and Europe.

According to new data released by broadband and utilities provider Glide, the amount of young adults renting aged 25-34 has almost doubled in a decade, with 24% living in rented accommodation in 2004, compared to 46% in 2014.

However, the UK as a whole is still way behind Europe's leading renting country Germany. Nearly a quarter (21%) of the UK are now renting, which is much lower than the amount of residents who rent in Germany, with over half (54%) of its residents renting their home.

This is not just a European trend, as the US has been utilising the build-to-rent market for the last 20 years, and is expected to grow to $317 billion this year, according to a report by Freddie Mae.

The US, in particular, has become more open to renting, with households of all education levels now more likely to rent than 10 years ago rather than just those considered lower class. It is also interesting that 32% of US citizens renting as a matter of choice compared with just 9% of the UK that have no aspiration to buy a home.

When looking into the reasons behind why the UK is behind on the build-to-rent trend, it seems it may be because of the nation’s attitudes toward housing compared to the US and Europe.

There are many reasons why people are starting to rent more than ever before and it isn’t only due to finances. For many millennials who are just starting out on the career path and looking to progress in their chosen field, being able to relocate for better opportunities is essential, so renting is the most convenient option.

It is also peace of mind for renters that if something in the home breaks or goes wrong, then it is up to either a landlord or property manager to sort out. This makes it a lot easier for those professionals who perhaps don’t have enough spare time to fix things themselves.

It is clear to see why there are question marks around whether the UK should be looking to its neighbours so see how they have embraced the build-to-rent lifestyle and kept the market so strong by providing renting properties for all different areas of society.

To find out more about what we can learn from the US’ build-to-rent approach, read Glide's full report here

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