Marketing No Comments

Construction work hits 9-month high, housebuilding falls: S&P

Construction work rose at the fastest rate in nine months in February, but this was tempered by a fall in housing activity for the third month running, data from S&P Global/CIPS shows.

UK building projects hit a “robust” 54.6 mark last month, up from 48.4 in January and above the neutral 50.0 threshold for the first time in three months, according to the latest S&P Global/CIPS Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index.

This is highest reading since May, ending two months of decline.

Commercial construction was the best-performing area, hitting a nine-month high, at 55.3, with civil engineering activity also returning to “modest” growth in February, at 52.3.

However, firms noted a fall in residential work for the third month in a row, which came in at 47.4, although companies said, “the speed of the downturn has eased since January”.

Housebuilding businesses said subdued market conditions were due to high interest rates, which caused cutbacks to new housebuilding projects in anticipation of weaker demand.

Contact us today to speak with a specialist Commercial Finance Broker to discuss how we can assist you.

Across the sector, total new work picked up in February, the report says, leading to an improvement in order books for the first time since November.

It adds that overall business expectations for the year ahead improved further from the 31-month low recorded in December. Around 46% of the survey panel anticipate a rise in construction activity over the coming 12 months, while only 13% predict a decline.

The survey also pointed to the least widespread supplier delays since January 2020 and the slowest round of purchase price increases since November 2020.

S&P Global Market Intelligence economics director Tim Moore says: “Business activity in the UK construction sector returned to growth during February as a rebound in commercial work and civil engineering output helped to compensate for housing market weakness.”

MHA head of construction and real estate Brendan Sharkey adds: “Today’s PMI reveals that February was a very strong month for UK construction.

“However, in reality, the picture is very mixed. Some construction firms are coping well and some aren’t. At this time of year for many regional builders, a lot rides on local authorities.

“Some are pushing lots of work through before they close their 2022/23 books in March. This is boosting activity but the overall picture is a bit gloomy when looking forward.

He points out: “The London market feels like it is heading for a slowdown and all the big house builders forecast contraction over the next year.

“One or two well-established construction firms have already declared themselves insolvent. It looks like we’re straining to avoid a recession with new orders declining and the prospect of more interest rate rises.”

Read about the UK Housing Market via our Specialist Residential & Buy to Let Division.

Beard finance director Fraser Johns adds: “After a two-month period of decline, it’s certainly encouraging to see a healthy rise in activity across the construction sector in February. Supply chain pressures softening and recession fears easing have been key drivers in boosting activity, new order levels and overall confidence.

“Last year, material costs in particular were much larger than expected, leading to a significant squeeze on live projects. It was one of many reasons why those without a strong balance sheet had nowhere to hide in 2022.

“So far this year though, increases – while still present, have started to come down and are closer to expectations, providing less volatility than in the previous 12 months.

Johns says: “One area that is expanding is more specialised infrastructure projects in the likes of healthcare, education and local authority for both local and central government. This has certainly been the case at Beard.

“Although the economic outlook is far from rosy, it is less doom and gloom than what we have come to expect. This is helping to shift sentiment and encourage more clients to commit to projects once again.”

“While this is all positive news, we are certainly not out of the woods yet, especially with high energy costs remaining a key factor. Businesses across the construction sector must still remain agile, especially those that rely on housebuilding projects.

“With high interest rates still stifling housing activity, residential housebuilding remained a weak spot, decreasing for a third month running.”

By Roger Baird

Source: Mortgage Strategy

Marketing No Comments

Boris Johnson under pressure to stop non-essential construction work amid coronavirus crisis

Boris Johnson is under growing pressure to stop non-essential construction workers heading to building sites as the country attempts to tackle the spread of coronavirus.

The Prime Minister has faced calls from across the political spectrum for more stringent rules so workers are not placed at risk, and public transport is not overwhelmed.

In an address to the nation on Monday, Mr Johnson told people not to leave their homes and go to work unless “absolutely necessary”.

Stopping non-essential construction would still see building work on new hospitals take place, but would halt the building of new homes.

Asked at PMQs by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn why construction sites had not yet been closed, Mr Johnson said: “Everybody should work at home unless they must go to work.

“If a construction company is continuing, then they must do so in accordance with advice from Public Health England.

Earlier on Wednesday, Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick said work on building sites can continue but workers should practice social distancing.

On Tuesday, Downing Street said that construction work should continue if it can be done following Public Health England (PHE) and industry guidance.

A day later, Mr Jenrick told ITV News: “If your employer thinks they cannot follow those guidelines then they should not be operating just as they shouldn’t be breaching any other form of health and safety guidance or regulation.

“So there’s an important duty on employers to consider whether they can operate within those guidelines and if they can’t then unfortunately they are going to have to temporarily close.”

Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade Barry Gardiner called for construction workers to be supported with “at least the living wage” when not working.

He told ITV News: “People need to know that they are going to have – at minimum – a living wage, then they know they can do the right things by themselves and the right thing by the wider public.

“But you cannot self-isolate on a building site, you cannot self-isolate and observe the social distancing measures if you are on a building site or a hairdresser or the many, many self employed professions.”

On Tuesday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said those who cannot work from home, including key workers in the NHS and social care, should go to work “to keep the country running”.

The Health Secretary said construction workers were among those who could continue to work as long as they could remain two metres apart at all times.

But some builders and construction workers have said they feel “angry and unprotected” going to work, while others are under pressure from employers to go in.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s office said the Government must act urgently to get more people staying at home following construction workers reporting to building sites and images of packed Tube trains appearing on social media.

It comes as housebuilder Taylor Wimpey said on Tuesday that it has closed its construction sites, show homes and sale sites due to coronavirus.

Transport for London (TfL) has also said work on its Crossrail sites was being temporarily suspended – but that essential maintenance of the transport network will continue.

Conservative former cabinet minister Sir Iain Duncan Smith added his voice to the calls for non-essential building work to be stopped, telling BBC Two’s Newsnight: “I think the balance is where we should delete some of those construction workers from going to work and focus only on the emergency requirements.”

Andy Burnham, mayor of Greater Manchester, told the programme: “This decision about allowing non-essential work appears to be taken for economic reasons when actually – when you’re in the middle of a global pandemic – health reasons alone really should be guiding all decision making.”

One of the reasons construction workers are still attending building sites is because they are self-employed.

The Government is also under intense pressure to set out a financial support package for self-employed workers – measures senior Conservative MP Sir Iain said were soon to be announced.

“I believe the Government has reached a conclusion about that, the best way to do it is to look back over the average for the year but that does leave out some who haven’t been self-employed for over a year,” he told Newsnight.

Source: ITV

Marketing No Comments

UK economy flatlines in October as construction shrinks

Britain’s economy flatlined in October as growth in services was offset by a decline in construction, official figures showed.

GDP grew by 0.0% in October and was flat for the three months to the end of October, the Office for National Statistics said. The result for the month of October pushed the annual growth rate down to 0.7%, the weakest in almost eight years.

Services, which make up about three quarters of the UK economy, expanded by 0.2% in the month of October but construction and manufacturing shrank over the three-month period. October’s 2.3% drop in construction output, caused by what the ONS said was a “notable drop in housebuilding and infrastructure”.

The figures paint a gloomy picture two days before a general election overshadowed by Brexit in which both main parties are promising to increase public spending for a country weary of austerity. Lack of growth could add to pressure on the Bank of England to reduce interest rates as the global economy slows and political uncertainty lingers in the UK.

Paul Dale, chief UK economist at Capital Economics, said: “The stagnation in GDP in October is unlikely to influence many people’s vote in Thursday’s election, but it could prompt some more MPC members to consider voting for lower interest rates in the coming months.”

Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said the fall in October construction output reflected large businesses shifting the timing of some infrastructure work and wet weather that reduced activity at some building sites.

“With GDP in October merely in line with Q3’s average, it now looks set to undershoot the MPC’s forecast for a 0.2% quarter-on-quarter increase in Q4,” Tombs said. “Nonetheless, if the general election yields a majority in the Commons either to ratify the PM’s existing deal or to change course to a much softer form of Brexit or none at all, then the subsequent recovery in business and consumer confidence likely would enable the economy to regain some momentum early next year.”

But Jack Leslie, economic analyst at the Resolution Foundation thinktank, said the government elected on Thursday would need to do more to support growth as the world economy slows.

“Crucially the UK’s domestic challenges come against a weak global economic outlook for next year,” he said. “While the main parties have avoided any discussion of this challenging economic environment during the election campaign, navigating it will be a central task for the next government nonetheless.”

By Sean Farrell

Source: ShareCast

Marketing No Comments

Slump in London house-building weighs on UK housing starts

British builders have cut back sharply on the number of new homes they plan to start in London, taking the shine off industry data which otherwise remained near its strongest since the global financial crisis.

Builders reported plans to start work on 12 percent fewer homes in London in the three months to June than a year before, the National House-Building Council, an industry body that insures about 80 percent of new construction, said on Thursday.

Just 2,917 homes were slated for construction, the smallest number for this time of year since the depths of the financial crisis in 2009 and less than half the number started a year before 2016’s Brexit vote.

London recorded the most new housing starts of any British region between 2010 and 2015. But since then its housing market has weakened due to concern that Brexit will hurt its financial sector and its appeal to foreign investors, as well as higher purchase taxes on homes costing over 1 million pounds.

Housing starts increased in most other parts of the United Kingdom during the second quarter. But the decline in London meant the overall total dropped 3 percent on the year to 38,978, its lowest for the time of year since 2014.

“Demand for new homes across the UK remains strong,” NHBC Chief Executive Steve Wood said. “We have seen some promising numbers coming through, in particular during May and June.”

House prices in London dropped by 1.9 percent on the year in the second quarter of 2018, the only region of the United Kingdom to show a fall, according to figures from mortgage lending Nationwide Building Society.

Last month London-focused housebuilder Berkeley (BKGH.L) warned pre-tax profits would fall by 30 percent this year, blaming a lack of large development sites as well as higher property purchase taxes and the effect of Brexit.

Housebuilders cut back on buying large sites in 2013 and 2014 when prices started to rise after the financial crisis, which now was reducing the flow of new homes, Berkeley said.


Shortages of European construction workers are also pushing up construction costs in the British capital, according to a separate report from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, also released on Thursday.

“Brexit and the uncertainty of labour from EU countries has affected labour resources on construction sites. This, in turn, has made tender sums increase without increasing contractor profits,” RICS member Christopher Mills said.

New housing starts in the United Kingdom overall rebounded by 6 percent from the first three months of 2018, when unusually snowy weather delayed work.

NHBC’s measure of quarterly housing starts slumped below 17,000 during the depths of the financial crisis, before recovering to peak at 42,423 in early 2017, helped in part by government subsidies for buyers of newly built homes.

Boosting house-building has been a stated priority for Britain’s government as it tries to address concerns among many voters about a lack of affordable housing in many areas.

But many in the industry say little has been done to speed up the local government planning process that makes it slow to get approval for many projects.

RICS said difficulties financing projects were also causing growth to slow.

“Anecdotal evidence suggested that the housing market slowdown, coupled with ongoing ambiguity with the Brexit negotiations, is weighing on investment decisions,” RICS said.

Source: UK Reuters

Marketing No Comments

Construction sector records worst decline since 2013 as new work dries up

Output in Britain’s construction industry fell at the fastest annual pace for five years in January as a slowdown in commercial developments and house-building hit the sector hard.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that output fell by 3.9%, the biggest year-on-year decline since March 2013.

Monthly figures also made for grim reading, falling 3.4% between December and January, while new orders decreased by 25% in the fourth quarter.

Economists had expected a monthly decline of just 0.5%.

“Construction continues to be a weak spot in the UK economy with a big drop in commercial developments, along with a slowdown in house-building after its very strong end to last year,” ONS senior statistician Ole Black said.

Investment in commercial developments, particularly in London, has fallen off a cliff since the Brexit vote as higher construction costs and uncertainty has seen developers delay new schemes.

Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said: “Commercial work will continue to fall if, as we expect, progress in Brexit talks remains slow.

“We doubt that house-building will recover fully soon. The prospect of further increases in interest rates is subduing buyer demand both for new and existing homes.”

The ONS data dump also included figures which show that Britain’s industrial production rebounded in January following a boost in manufacturing and North Sea oil and gas production.

Manufacturing grew 0.1% in January month on month, representing the ninth month in a row of growth for the first time since records began in 1968 as factories benefit from strong global demand and a weak Brexit-hit pound.

Industrial production grew 1.3% in January, with growth driven mainly by the reopening of the Forties oil pipeline, which was shut down for three weeks after a crack was discovered in December.

Mining and quarrying provided the largest upward contribution, increasing by 23.5%.

“Manufacturing has recorded its ninth consecutive month of growth but with a slower start to 2018. Total production output continues to advance, bolstered in January by the Forties oil pipeline coming back on stream after December’s shutdown,” Mr Black added.

Figures also showed the UK trade deficit widen by £3.4 billion in good and services to £8.7 billion, with the ONS citing rising oil prices making for more expensive fuel imports, which rocketed 21.4%.

This contributed to a £3.2 billion widening of the trade in goods deficit.


Marketing No Comments

500 council homes to be built across Sandwell

Five hundred new council homes will be built in a borough over the next three years as part of a major investment to boost the housing stock.

Sandwell Council will embark on one of the biggest council house building projects in years in a bid to tackle its growing waiting list.

Bosses said housing was among their main priorities, with £70 million to be ploughed into new developments until 2021.

Extensions to existing council properties are also planned.

CCTV could also be rolled out at high-rise blocks as part of the improvements in a bid to tackle antisocial behaviour.

The authority is also planning to create hundreds of school places over the coming years to deal with the borough’s rising population.

Some council house projects are already in the pipeline, including plans for 63 properties in Strathmore Road and Henn Street, Tipton, and another 50 in Friar Park, Wednesbury.

Wednesbury councillor Peter Hughes said the housebuilding programme was a signal of the council’s intent to improve living standards.

He said: “It has been decades since local authorities have built to the extent that we are.

“Sandwell is probably leading the way in terms of local authority social house building.

“There is a massive need for social housing. As a former housing manager myself I’m very much in favour of seeing house building take place. A lot of local authorities haven’t done it for some time.”

Councillor Hughes said despite the huge outlay on creating new homes, it would also prove beneficial for the council.

He said: “We will get an increase in council tax and we will also get the new homes bonus coming in which is quite substantial.”

The house building drive comes after councillors gave the green light to plans that will see around £52 million spent on external improvements to 13 high-rise blocks across Oldbury, Rowley Regis and West Bromwich starting this year.

First in line is Alfred Gunn House in Oldbury, with improvements also planned for Darley House, Moorlands Court, St Giles Court, Addenbrooke Court and Wesley Court in Rowley Regis; Heronville House, Paget House and Wyrley House in Oldbury and Holly Court, Oak Court, Allen House and Boulton House in West Bromwich.

Source: Express and Star

Marketing No Comments

UK Construction Activity Picked Up in February but Outlook Remains Challenging

Britain’s third largest economic sector, the construction industry, has been mired in recession for three consecutive quarters. Economists are now looking for signs this downturn eased during February.

The UK construction industry enjoyed a surprise boost during February, according to the latest IHS Markit Construction PMI, although “there is little sign of an imminent turnaround in overall growth momentum”.

February’s IHS Markit PMI index rose to 51.4, up from 50.2 in January, when economists had forecast a much more meagre increase to 50.5.

This marks the first rise for the index in three months and, although IHS say the growth outlook remains bleak, it may provide some hope that the three-quarter downturn in the industry is now easing.

The PMI is a survey that measures changes in business conditions in the construction industry from month to month. It asks respondents to rate current conditions across a range of areas including employment, production, new orders, prices, supplier deliveries and inventories.

A number above the 50.0 level indicates industry expansion while a number below is consistent with contraction.

A sudden jump in commercial construction activity was the biggest contributor to February’s gains which, expanding at its fastest pace since May 2017, is notable because the commercial segment made the greatest contribution to 2017’s downturn.

“Civil engineering was the worst performing category of construction work, with activity falling at the sharpest pace for five months. A soft patch for house building continued in February, meaning that residential work remained on track for its weakest quarter since Q3 2016,” IHS Markit says.

“At the same time, strong input cost pressures were reported in February, with higher raw material prices, fuel bills and staff wages reported by survey respondents.”

PMI surveys frequently overestimate economic activity and IHS Markit Construction survey is no different.

The construction survey has printed only one number that is consistent with an industry recession during the last 12 months yet official output data shows the industry has contracted for three separate quarters.

Nonetheless, February’s report rhymes with the changing tone of the latest Office for National Statistics data, covering December, which showed the three-quarter downturn easing a touch in the final month of last year.

Construction is Britain’s third largest economic sector. Much of its earlier weakness was the result of commercial construction being hindered by Brexit uncertainty and oversupply of new office space in key hubs like London.

Residential activity has remained robust, in broad terms, although it has softened a touch of late.

The London market has been an exception to this as stamp duty tax changes and the outcome of the Brexit referendum in June 2016 have both hit demand for prime real estate in the capital.

Friday’s data comes closely on the heels of the IHS manufacturing PMI, which showed the manufacturing index slipping for the third month running as production slowed in February while export order book growth moderated a touch.

It also comes after a flurry of other gloomy news for the UK, the economy and its currency. Nationwide Building Society data released Thursday showed UK house prices falling 0.3% in February, following a brief and surprise pickup in January.

“Month-to-month changes can be volatile, but the slowdown is consistent with signs of softening in the household sector in recent months,” Robert Gardner, chief economist at Nationwide, wrote in a note accompanying the figures.

The mortgage data followed an Office for National Statistics report released last week, showing the UK economy grew slower than was previously thought during the final quarter of 2017.

ONS says UK economic growth was in fact 0.4% during the final quarter, not the 0.5% previously suggested by the ONS, dealing a blow to observers who had cheered a last minute lift in UK economic momentum during 2017.

The annual pace of growth was also downwardly revised, from 1.8% to 1.7%, with the revised number marking a fall from the 1.9% growth seen back in 2016.

That was the result of downward revisions to industrial production figures, due to the closure of a key oil pipeline in the North Sea, and business investment having ground to a standstill.

This data came closely on the heels of the fourth quarter labour market report, which showed the unemployment rate rising for the first time since July 2015. The ONS attributed this to a rise in the participation rate rather than an increase in job losses.

All of this matters for the Pound because it could impact on the Bank of England and its thinking about whether the UK will be able to sustain another rise in interest rates. It hiked the base rate by 25 basis points already, to 0.50%, in November.

For what it’s worth, the fourth quarter growth performance was in line with the BoE’s forecasts and it’s well known now the bank’s primary concern is inflation, which sits stubbornly at 3%.

So far, the bank says it’s taken heart from the broad fall in unemployment over recent years, which is now beginning to push wages higher, and because of this it is less willing to play it cautious by holding back on interest rate rises.

Nonetheless, a further deterioration in UK economic conditions, particularly around unemployment and Brexit, may change this.

Source: Pound Sterling Live

Marketing No Comments

Space on brownfield land to build up to one million new homes

There is enough space on brownfield land to build at least a million new homes, research by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has found.

The analysis of Brownfield Land Registers reveals that over two thirds of these homes could be deliverable within five years, and many of these sites are in areas that have a high need for housing.

CPRE found that the 17,656 sites identified by local planning authorities, covering over 28,000 hectares of land, would provide enough land for at least 1,052,124 new homes, which it says could rise to over 1.1 million once all registers are published.

According to CPRE, this means that three of the next five years’ worth of government housing targets could be met through building on brownfield land that has already been identified.

This would ease pressure on councils being pushed to release greenfield land, and would mean that less of the UK’s countryside would be used for new builds.

London, the north west, and the south west were identified as having the highest number of potential deliverable homes, with the new registers giving minimum housing estimates of 267,859, 160,785 and 132,263 respectively.

The registers found sites for over 400,000 homes that have not yet come forward for planning permission, despite the “urgent need” to move sites towards development.

More than a third of these sites are on publicly owned land, and CPRE argues that as public authority developments should give a significant opportunity to provide affordable homes, it provides an opportunity for homes to be built on brownfield land to help towards local need.

Additionally, further analysis showed that there is brownfield capacity wherever there is threat to the green belt.

It found that in a number of areas with an extremely high number of green belt sites proposed for development, local authorities have identified enough brownfield land to fulfil up to 12 years of housing need.

Rebecca Pullinger, planning campaigner at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, called it “fantastic news” that authorities have identified so many brownfield sites that are ready to be developed.

She said: “Contrary to what the government, and other commentators have said, brownfield sites are also available in areas with high housing pressure.

“Indeed, our analysis is conservative with its estimates of potential number of homes that could be built – the figure could much higher if density is increased and if more registers looked at small sites.”

She called on the government to amend its guidance to ensure that councils have identified all of the brownfield sites in their areas, and to improve incentives to build on these sites and ensure that they follow through on their commitment for all new builds to be on brownfield first.

In order to make use of suitable brownfield land, CPRE has called on the government to use the upcoming review of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) to introduce a “brownfield first” approach to land release and granting planning permissions for development.

It argues that local authorities must be empowered to refuse planning permission for greenfield sites where there are suitable brownfield alternatives.

Source: Public Sector Executive

Marketing No Comments

LendInvest completes £16m development deal in three weeks

Property finance lender LendInvest has completed a £16m financing deal with established development finance borrower, Yogo Group, in just three weeks.

The development finance loan will fund the part-conversion and rebuild of a Grade II listed building, the former Thomas Lipton Care Home, as well as the construction of new units.

LendInvest completed this loan in record time of three weeks from initial introduction to site purchase, after the borrower was let down at the last minute by another lender. If finance had not been secured immediately the borrower would have lost the site to another potential buyer.

Steve Larkin, director of development at LendInvest, said: “Time is undeniably crucial for any developer. In this instance it was make or break, with the developer facing the prospect of losing a coveted site to other purchasers having been let down by their initial lender.

“Our team went the extra mile to ensure that this did not happen again, delivering fast, and affordable finance in record time.

“Working with an award-winning developer is always a comfort for a lender, and we have full confidence in the Yogo Group to deliver the quality bespoke living spaces they are so well known for.”

After completion, the project in its entirely will deliver 24 apartments and six houses, ranging from one to four bed units of bespoke design and available for first-time buyers.

The site is in Southgate, Enfield, North London and sits in five acres of its own grounds, providing privacy for prospective buyers and tenants.

Construction is expected to be completed by March 2019. The total gross development value is forecast to exceed £26m

George Philippou, managing director of Yogo Group, added: “Yogo Group is delighted to be working with LendInvest to deliver another one of its high quality residential developments in a unique enclave of Southgate.

“We would like to express our immense gratitude to LendInvest who have been extremely supportive of Yogo Group not only by funding the majority of the scheme but also by achieving the unachievable and ensuring a quick and smooth three week completion.

“The service and support provided by LendInvest and its lending managers have been exemplary.”

Daniel O’Neil of SPF Private Clients introduced and advised on the deal.

Source: Mortgage Introducer

Marketing No Comments

New £25m ‘build to rent’ scheme proposed for Belfast

PLANS have been revealed for a new £25 million ‘build to rent’ apartment building in the east bank area of Belfast city centre.

The proposal, being brought forward by a joint venture between the local property developer, Vinder Capital, and Oisin Quinn of London-based developer Aldgate Developments, is the second of its kind in Belfast, following the planned 19 storey development on Academy Street in the city.

The ‘build to rent’ model sees apartments purpose-built for rental only, with ownership retained by the building owner. A management company then provides additional services such as 24/7 security, communal space and cafes for long-term tenancies. Aimed at the ‘millennial’ generation, who choose to rent or can’t yet afford to buy, it has already become a successful model in other UK cities such as London and Manchester.

The proposed Belfast development, to be known as ‘The Residence at Quay Gate’ will be located on a current surface level car park at Scrabo Street in an area south of the Lagan Bridge. The proposed building, designed by Belfast based LIKE Architects, will provide over 150 one and two bedroom apartments in the city centre set overlooking the river Lagan and the Titanic Quarter.

Gavin McEvoy from the joint venture behind the scheme believes the proposal offers potential residents a unique living experience in the city.

“Build to rent is an exciting opportunity to introduce premium services and a customer focus to apartment living which is not typically found in build for sale apartments in the Belfast market. The Residence at Quay Gate will include a dedicated relaxation area, a state of the art gymnasium, work spaces and meeting rooms and will include an integrated IT system,” he said.

“Having assessed the model in other major cities in the UK with our high class design and delivery team, we believe there is an exciting opportunity to use our knowledge of the local property market to apply the model in a Belfast context. Build to Rent is an exciting progression from the major investment that has been made in Belfast in the student accommodation sector that fills a growing need for city centre living in Belfast. Our plans will deliver a cleverly-designed, premium scheme which will deliver well managed homes and create new, sustainable communities in an area of the city centre close to the river with easy access to transport links.”

The developers will undertake a 12 week pre-application community consultation before submitting their plans to Belfast City Council. A public exhibition will be held on February 7 at the Odyssey Pavillion.

Earlier this month Lacuna/Watkin Jones, the joint venture behind multiple student accommodation schemes in the city centre, submitted a planning application for 105 one and two bed apartments on Academy Street in the Cathedral Quarter. The build to rent development includes an active ground floor with communal space for tenants, management facilities and proposed space for a café or retail use.

Source: Irish News