The government has announced it will launch a review into the barriers to investment in the UK's private rental sector (PRS). Housing minister Grant Shapps revealed Sir Adrian Montague - who holds non-executive positions with firms such as Skanska AB, Anglian Water Group and Michael Page International plc - will head up the project, with the aim of finding ways to encourage more investors to put their money into the sector and help boost the country's rental market. Mr Shapps stressed the importance of bolstering the PRS at this time. "Over three million households live in privately rented homes, so it's vital that we take steps to ensure the sector's continuing growth and affordability," he stated.
Earlier this month, Ian Potter, operations manager at the Association of Residential Lettings Agents (Arla), predicted the PRS will be affected by a lack of housing stock going forward, despite the measures laid down in the government's housing strategy. He cited research carried out among Arla members, which found three-quarters of those questioned have more tenants than available homes. Mr Potter added high unemployment can affect the financial stability of both landlords and renters and this may have a significant impact on the PRS as a whole.
One of the issues affecting the PRS is the lack of new properties being constructed in the UK. Mr Shapps recently unveiled the Get Britain Building Fund, a pot of GBP 420 million to help kick-start stalled housing projects. The money will be available to assist developments that have stopped due to difficulties accessing funds, but that have already received planning permission. It is hoped this will result in around 16,000 additional homes being constructed in 2012. Commenting on his appointment to lead the review of PRS investment, Sir Adrian stated: "The PRS has gone through a period of rapid growth and it's crucial that the government does all it can to ensure that demand continues to be met."
- Wednesday 04 January 2012