Launching a brand-new Build-to-Rent community is a pretty big deal. There are now more than 150,000 of them in the UK, and plenty more are on the way. The number of new units in planning was up by 23% in the year to the third quarter of 2019.
With so many renter-exclusive homes in the pipeline, the competition is undoubtedly high. This is great news for renters. As a Build-to-Rent operator, however, you need to pick the best time to launch your snazzy new community. So how do you do it?
The short answer is, when it’s finished. But is there an ideal time to aim for when it comes to completing your units and launching them to the public? To answer that question, we’re looking at the best times of the year to launch your Build-to-Rent community.
Let’s start with the beginning of the year when the weather’s cold, the Xmas blues are fresh, and everyone’s dreading going back to work. Sounds like the absolute worst time to launch a Build-to-Rent community, right?
Well, maybe not. For many, the start of the year is also a time for new beginnings. It’s when Dave finally decides that this is the year to get in shape, or when Mary’s moving to a big city to start that new job she landed just before the new year.
If you market your units in the right way, it's possible to tap into a mindset that’s ready for something new. That means getting loads of high-calibre renters into your modern new homes. New year, new renters, and a new community to start the year with a bang.
Ok, so you’ve got a few renters who were desperate to start the new year with something fresh. But what about those who waited for the warmer months to get the ball rolling? Traditionally, the UK rental market hits its stride during the spring.
While a spring Build-to-Rent community launch might coincide with competitors, you’ll probably have the biggest audience to market to. Essentially, you should weigh up the local competition with what is likely to be increased demand for your own building.
Find the right balance, and you could hit the sweet spot while generating plenty of interest in your community. There's no doubt that March, April and May get the juices flowing in the property market.
According to studies, July is the most popular time of the year to move home, which isn’t surprising as it comes right bang in the middle of summer. So does that mean you should definitely wait until the hottest months of the year to launch your Build-to-Rent community?
That depends on a few things. June and the first half of July can prove to be busy times in the rental market. But the second half of summer (late July until the end of August) is the holiday season, which means most people are looking at beaches in Ibiza rather than two-beds in Hackney.
Even with the caveat of everyone going on holiday, there’s still a wildcard in the form of students. Thousands of students (hello, co-living) want to find somewhere to live before term starts in September, which means the summertime can see demand from all types of renters.
Winter is time for new beginnings, spring is when everything starts heating up, and summer reaches the peak. So does that mean autumn leads to a plateau in demand as everyone is worn out from summer house hunting?
Not necessarily. For many, autumn is the ideal time to move home. The nights are still relatively light, the weather is decent, and there are no distractions. There are no wintertime blues, no spring bank holidays and no actual holidays during the summer.
You can go on a full-on marketing assault in the autumn, safe in the knowledge there won’t be anything getting in your way. Rental prices also tend to drop in the months of November and December, so September and October provide an opportunity to price your building appropriately.
Four seasons of renting
There is no definitive time to launch your Build-to-Rent community. Construction times, configuring tech, decorating apartments - these are all aspects that play a major role in the completion of a Build-to-Rent community, and they're not affected by the weather.
Yet, it’s still worth knowing the ins and outs of the rental market. And if you can cherry-pick the ideal time to launch your community, we’d say it’s somewhere between the end of spring and start of summer.
The most important aspect, however, is that your Build-to-Rent community is ready to go and offers fantastic amenities and high-quality apartments, no matter the time of year.