With a severe shortage of truly affordable homes across the capital forcing ever more people to move ever further out one salvation heralded by some has been the build-to-rent sector.
Unlike homes specifically build for rent in the past, many new homes in this sector are far from low cost. In fact, many are way above average – which begs the question of just what kind of solution they will be.
There’s plenty of people who have been holding this sector up as some kind of solution with scant evidence so far it will do much for housing problems. Here’s one from 2015 where Your Moves’ Director of Lettings stated: “Why build-to-rent is the key to helping ‘Generation Rent’”. Even The Guardian are heralding it as some great new future using an example of a two bed in Wembley at £2000 a month.
Let’s take a look at the new tower named Union Wharf in Deptford which the developer Essential Living are wrongly calling Greenwich. Here’s the prices:
And lets take a look at nearby homes: a one bed flat can be found in various areas of Zone 2 and 3 for around £1,000 a month. Here’s one by Forest Hill station at £1050.
A 3 bed flat nearby is £500 a month less. Some are £800 less if moving a little out but still near Maze Hill station – and that’s a place that hasn’t gone after a month so you’d have scope to haggle. A Rightmove search will quickly show the cost premium.
These new builds are certainly not affordable compared with nearby places to live – which are already beyond the reach of many. Throwing in a £20 a month broadband package is barely scratching the surface.
One can only assume developers are aiming these homes at people with large sums of money and/or not very knowledgeable about the area.
Not that those behind it know much about the place either. Transport links on the website to areas of employment are odd.
There’s a little place called the City of London which has a few jobs I hear, so you may think regular rail links from Greenwich or Deptford (both five minute’s walk from the development) may be highlighted. It only takes around 10 minutes to Cannon Street in the City from Deptford station – but they only give prominence with travel time to DLR destinations.
It’s as if the marketers only ever knew about the tube map which features the DLR.
The website offers more gems stating:
“Greenwich is perfect for those looking for a rural town feel whilst still living in the heart of London”.
If build to rent is the future then it can’t be so expensive as to offer a premium above elevated local homes to rent – and it would help if developers had half a clue about the area they build in. Many Londoners will just laugh at this – if they can even afford it.