Scotland's build-to-rent sector surges but still lags rest of UK, says Rettie & Co

Scotland’s pipeline of build-to-rent (BTR) homes has risen by a third in the past year and now stands in excess of 7,200 properties, new figures have revealed.

In May, the Harbour Gateway scheme at Western Harbour in Leith welcomed its final residents. Picture: Contributed
In May, the Harbour Gateway scheme at Western Harbour in Leith welcomed its final residents. Picture: Contributed

However, despite the surge in supply, the sector represents less than 2 per cent of the total private rented market in Scotland, compared to around 3 per cent in the whole of the UK and 9 per cent in London, according to property firm Rettie & Co.

Its summer report shows that the bulk of BTR supply is centred in Glasgow – some 4,000 homes – with about 2,000 in the pipeline in Edinburgh and in the region of 1,000 in Aberdeen.

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Gillian McLees, head of BTR at Rettie & Co, said: “What is encouraging about the latest numbers is that BTR is well up against last year, with Glasgow in particular being a shining example of how public-private partnerships can operate effectively to address the continuing and chronic undersupply of housing.

“This shows that local authorities can work effectively with institutional investors to provide a new housing tenure and meet housing need in Scottish cities, as they have done down south in the likes of London and Manchester.”

John Boyle, Rettie & Co’s director of research and strategy, added: "It’s notable that, in addition to providing new homes, the BTR sector is now producing significant economic impact, with the value of construction contracts in Glasgow alone at around half a billion pounds.”

The firm said it was playing a central role in the sector north of the Border. Its BTR team provides a range of services from advising and appraising on developments to operation schemes.

In May, the Harbour Gateway scheme at Western Harbour in Leith welcomed its final residents. Harbour Gateway comprises 234 “mid-market” homes, was delivered by Forth Ports in partnership with Rettie & Co and was made possible by National Housing Trust funding provided by City of Edinburgh Council and the Scottish Futures Trust on behalf of the Scottish Government.

In June of last year, Rettie & Co was appointed by PfP Capital, a subsidiary of regeneration group Places for People, to support the delivery of 1,000 affordable homes across Scotland following a long-term loan of £47.5 million from the Scottish Government.

Earlier this year, Sigma Capital Group, the Edinburgh-headquartered residential development and urban regeneration specialist, announced that it was pushing into the Scottish private rented sector with the launch of a dedicated £43m fund. The firm has been largely focused on property projects and investments south of the Border but said demand for rental homes in Scotland was strong.