Construction trade body Homes for Scotland (HFS) today named industry veteran Gerry More as its private rented sector “champion” as it seeks to deliver much-needed accommodation.
According to the Scottish Government, 465,000 new homes are required by 2035, and HFS last year asked the London School of Economics and Cambridge Centre for Housing & Planning Research to examine ways of boosting construction.
One recommendation in the HFS report was the development of a prospectus to attract institutional money back into new rental housing – an area that pension funds largely withdrew from in the 1970s.. More told The Scotsman that his key task would be to tap new streams of investment.
More, a former board member at Edinburgh-based housebuilder Cala, said: “It’s not something that’s there just now, but if you wanted a good corollary it’s probably the student acco mmodation market. That’s a £20 billion sector, and we haven’t got anything similar in the private rented sector yet, but there’s a lot of interest in it.”
Life and pensions group Legal & General, which bought a stake in Cala last year, has said the private rented market is on its radar, while Royal London chief executive Phil Loney said the sector could represent a “very attractive market” for firms seeking long-term returns.
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “The Scottish Government recognises the potential that exists to unlock new and alternative sources of housing investment in this sector, and that is why we provided funding towards the post.
“I look forward to seeing the experts’ recommendations developed, and to working with the industry and Mr More on the investment potential of Scotland’s new-build private rented sector.”