THE private rental sector is set to grow by a further one million households by 2018, research by Savills has forecast.

Despite the rise in demand the supply of homes to rent remains constrained, particularly in well-connected city centres, where the highest concentrations of people renting privately exist.

The sector urgently needs investment in good quality rental stock and institutions are poised to fund this investment.

The weight of global capital looking for exposure to UK residential is vast.

Much focus has been on London, as arguably the hottest real estate destination for capital on the world scene.

Interest from longer term investors is now spreading out to the south-east and even further afield, where income yields are likely to be better.

Location selection is clearly fundamental. Strong employment and economic prospects with good infrastructure and amenities are vital.

Planning regulations changed recently, allowing empty office buildings to be converted to residential properties with relative ease – under permitted development rights – until May 2016.

This has prompted a number of commercial to residential conversions in our region. If holding vacant office buildings maybe now is the time to recycle and regenerate your existing stock.

Research released by Savills, Spotlight: What Do Tenants Really Want? employed YouGov to survey 2,300 tenants renting in the private sector in major cities across England and Wales.

One thousand of the respondents were in London, demonstrating that being close to public transport is crucial for tenants.

Fifty-two per cent of tenants live within five minutes of their nearest public transport.

This rises to 73 per cent if the catchment area is extended to 10 minutes.

Over the past 10 years developers and managers of student housing have built up branded portfolios and management platforms, to tap into the strong performance from student housing.

Over the next 10 years build-to-rent will be the emerging asset class for investors looking to diversify their investment portfolios.

  • If you have commercial property or a development opportunity – be ahead of the curve and contact Philip Brannon at Savills for a free consultation on 023 8071 3900.