Rettie & Co: Opportunities and challenges in Scotland’s BTR market
Rettie & Co. has shed light on the current state of the residential investment landscape in the country, specifically regarding the private rental sector (PRS) and build to rent (BTR) market.
The details are outlined in the company’s latest report, Build to Rent Scotland, Scottish Market Review 2023, discussing concerns among national and international investors.
The report underscores the strong fundamentals of the residential investment opportunity in Scotland, emphasising that the market retains the potential to deliver results for bold investors. However, this potential is dampened by a gloomy picture painted by political risk, including ongoing rent freeze cap measures and political intervention in the sector, leading to negative investor sentiment towards Scotland.
John Boyle, director of strategy and research at Rettie, sees the current investor sentiment as a “major concern” in light of Scotland’s housing supply crisis.
Mr Boyle said: “It’s impossible to hide what can only be described as a pessimistic picture of the Scottish PRS and BTR sectors, although we believe the market still has the potential to deliver for those bold enough to invest. So, we’re not ruling out a year of discontent moving into more of an Indian Summer.”
Gillian McLees, director of BTR at Rettie & Co, added: “While it was hoped that institutional investors would step in to fill the shortage of housing in the private rental sector, a number of factors including political intervention in the sector continues to exacerbate the problem of supply.
“This means that we are getting thousands of applicants for our properties who we are having to turn away, many of whom are in desperate need and we would love to accommodate, but there is nothing close to an adequate supply of housing.”
The report also observes that while the BTR sector continues to grow in Scotland, the speed of development lags behind the rest of the UK. An improved investment environment could stimulate the construction of around 14,000 planned BTR and MMR units in Scotland, collectively valued at about £3 billion.
Of the approximately 17,000 BTR units operating or in the pipeline in Scotland, around 8,500 are in Glasgow, 6,500 are in Edinburgh, and in the region of 1.300 are in Aberdeen.
Currently, Rettie manages nearly £1bn in assets, collaborating with entities like Forth Ports and Moda Living.