Build to rent could be the answer to Belfast housing shortage

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Property agent CBRE has claimed that build to rent (BTR) could be the answer to the shortage of rented accommodation in Belfast. They claim that there are several sites identified for office or hotel developments that could be used to build accommodation for rent.

Robert Ditty, a director of CBRE said that there is a large demand from young professionals and graduates for rented accommodation. He said that the build to rent sector offers investors “stable long-term income potential and is less susceptible to cyclical variations than other traditional real estate sectors.”

He added that, if build to rent schemes can achieve good rental values, developments are financially viable.

Many build to rent schemes are large apartment blocks that are professionally managed with a high standard of amenities. These may be beyond the financial resources of smaller investors, but there are opportunities for smaller developments, particularly where existing commercial properties can be converted for residential use. There are plenty of lenders offering commercial mortgages and bridging loans that can help finance build to rent projects.

There is a high demand for new accommodation by young professionals, so long void periods are not expected. Many young professionals cannot afford to buy a home, and often expect it will take several years before they have enough saved for the deposit on a new home. Many of the new blocks being built in Belfast are similar to the student accommodation which graduates are used to.

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