A successful Build-to-Rent Roadshow down under

London Principal and Global Sector Leader, Residential Jonathan Clarke and Associate Principal Simon Saint flew to Australia from October 4-13 to brief the nation’s political and business leaders on build-to-rent (BTR) – an asset class common in Europe and the US.

Sydney-based Associate Alexandra Worland who worked with Jonathan and Simon to curate the roadshow is delighted with the outcome. “Our Australian clients are keen to know the opportunities and potential pitfalls of the BTR asset class. Client feedback during the roadshow has been extremely positive.”

Our international experience has positioned the Australian studios as go-to experts for this new market.

The roadshow included a trip to Sydney where Jonathan and Simon presented on a panel at a Property Council NSW build-to-rent event. The event sponsored by Woods Bagot, and attended by 650 people, included developers, institutional investors, state agencies and government. The forum looked at whether a healthy build-to-rent sector was important in providing a secure tenure for those that choose to rent, a greater diversity of accommodation and an increase in the supply of housing.

Jonathan said it was fantastic to see such a great turnout at the event and hear conversations with developers and other major stakeholders on some of the sticking points, including what the Government needed to do in order to pave the way for build-to-rent to work successfully in Australia.

Build-to-rent requires a re-alignment of the way people think about how buildings are operated.

“It requires careful design; design that has the end user at front of mind and how they will experience the building and engage with the space,” he added.

After a series of successful meetings and workshops in Sydney, Simon and Jonathan flew to Perth where they met with the West Australian Minister for Housing Peter Tinley, Property Council Australia representatives, CEDA (the Committee for Economic Development of Australia) representatives and state agencies and developers. One of the main topics of interest in Perth was how the build-to-rent model could work with the Western Australia Government’s plans for Metronet.

Metronet is a long-term blueprint to connect Perth suburbs, reduce road congestion and meet Perth’s future planning needs.

“After meeting with the Minister and State agencies in Perth, we believe that given the wide-ranging sustainability aims of Metronet and the integrated TOD being planned, build-to-rent presents significant opportunities to positively impact the shortage of affordable housing and underpin social sustainability throughout the network,” Simon said.

The trip finished in Melbourne with a series of presentations, a forum and a Property Council Victoria event of about 200 professionals, where Simon and Jonathan were part of a panel attended by key property, construction and developers.

After a successful roadshow, Simon said Australia still has some hurdles to overcome.

“Australia is currently facing two challenges; a lack of institutional investment and the fact that build-to-rent assets haven’t matured into a liquid market as yet; they cannot be traded as other assets, such as commercial office buildings, can currently; but these are challenges that can be overcome,” he said.

Jonathan said developers needed to understand the context of the building.

It’s important for developers to know how the building can be designed and built to take advantage of the benefits of the local neighbourhood and incorporate operational efficiencies – this is the key to addressing the build-to-rent model in Australia.