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L&G appoints team to deliver 1,000 family rental homes per year

Legal & General has appointed a senior leadership team to head up its recently launched suburban build-to-rent business focused on family rental communities.

Targeting a market forecast to grow to more than £200bn, L&G’s SBTR platform will develop family homes in areas connected to schools, transport infrastructure and key amenities.

With a target of 1,000 new “single family” rental homes each year, the schemes will be community-focused and service-led, offering a level of security of tenure and flexibility that L&G said is largely missing outside the UK’s urban centres.

The homes will be a mix of houses and low-density apartments, incorporating home offices and more extensive outdoor space to reflect people’s changing needs, post-Covid.

L&G also said it would aim to make the SBTR business operationally carbon net-zero by 2030, in line with the company’s wider sustainability commitments.

Joining managing director David Reid on the SBTR leadership team are three new appointments:

  • Tom Henry, investment director: specialising in build-to-rent investment, Henry was previously national acquisitions director at Grainger and residential fund manager at LaSalle Investment Management. He will lead on establishing SBTR as a “major opportunity” for L&G’s capital investment while maintaining its commitments to sustainability.
  • Catherine Hipperson, operations director: having previously run a large BTR portfolio at Savills, Hipperson will shape and deliver the standards around property management and customer service to support high levels of occupancy and the need to professionalise the suburban rental market.
  • Jane Sullivan, finance director: the former head of corporate finance at Durkan Group, with previous roles at CBRE and Peabody Trust, will drive the financial strategy to sustain the growth of the business.

According to L&G, about 1% of the SBTR sector has benefitted from institutional capital investment, compared to 6% of the urban market. One of the goals for the team is to fill that gap while tackling the broader shortages in the UK’s housing supply.

It said it would adopt a “collaborative approach” to housing delivery, partnering with housebuilders to bring forward large-scale sites alongside undertaking a direct delivery programme.

Reid said: “As we gear up towards the acquisition of our first sites, our major focus has been to put together a stellar team to match and support our growth ambitions. With working practices and demands changing rapidly in light of the pandemic, it’s more important than ever that we deliver high-quality homes to meet societal demand.

“We’re still falling short of the 300,000 new homes targeted for delivery each year. Jane, Catherine and Tom are key hires who will help us lead the way in further establishing the suburban build to rent sector to deliver well-managed, service-led communities, which provide a reliable and positive alternative to home ownership.”

The SBTR team adds to L&G’s existing presence in the BTR sector, with more than 5,000 homes in operation or in development across the UK’s major towns and cities.

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