21st September 2016
RESI 2016 and Build to Rent

Richard Mussell (Managing Director) and Paul Belfield (Director) of Rund Partnership attended RESI 2016 last week where there was a major boost by the new housing minister and the industry for Build to Rent. Coming after the post-Brexit referendum, there was plenty for delegates to mull over.

Speaking on Day 1 of RESI 2016 last week, housing minister, Gavin Barwell signaled a firm shift away from the focus on homeownership. In his first major speech as housing minister, Barwell declared to delegates “we need to build more homes of every single type and not focus on one single tenure”.

Barwell, MP for Croydon Central, was appointed by new prime minister Theresa May in her post-EU referendum reshuffle, and will now shape government housing policy for years to come. RESI 2016 was the first time Barwell faced the industry, and conference delegates gained an exclusive chance to hear his thoughts on how the government can fix the national housing crisis first-hand. Acknowledging the country’s housing ambitions would “never be achieved” without a significant boost for institutional investment in the private rented sector, Barwell added “recent growth in the bespoke rental market has been impressive but this progress must be expanded.”

Commenting on the previous government’s pledge to build 200,000 Starter Homes, the minister said. “It’s obviously a manifesto commitment that we have, what I’ve got to look at is can we have a wider range of products in terms of affordable housing”, while admitting “there’s a little bit of a tension between the overall supply objective and measures specifically to help people onto the housing ladder”.

The theme of broadening housing supply was also recognised by James Murray, London’s deputy major. Speaking with Mark Easton, BBC home affairs editor, Murray said to the RESI 2016 delegation “volume house builders need to work alongside new forms of delivery, like build to rent”, adding, “if we’re going to increase supply and have affordable within that, you need to use every route of delivery.”

Further insight into RESI 2016 can be found here.

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