New Straits Times, Photo Credit to New Straits Times
clock 21-12-2018
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Build-to-Rent Gaining Traction in London

BUILD-TO-RENT (BtR) homes is the fastest growing property sector in London today, said Eco World international Bhd (EcoWorld International) executive vice-chairman Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin.

He said BtR homes is also the most resilient due to the chronic undersupply of affordable homes available for rent, particularly along the commuter belt, where EcoWorld London's projects are located.

He said there is bright prospects for the sector with large international funds actively pursuing good quality BtR opportunities in the united kingdom.

"This underscores our confidence that whatever the outcome of ongoing Brexit negotiations, the BtR market is recession-proof and will continue to strongly outperform other market segments well into the foreseeable future," said Liew in a statement.

He said apart from the huge potential for growth, BtR, with its forward funding model, also requires minimal upfront funding from lenders and shareholders.

"It is therefore immensely scalable as we can undertake numerous such projects concurrently without over extending our balance sheet. Based on the foregoing, EcoWorld international is there for every comfortable to continue investing in the growth of our BtR business in the UK. We regard BtR as being foundational to our goal of becoming a global property player of note, with a comprehensive skillset to cater to the needs of not only end-users and retail investors, but also the discerning and demanding institutional investor market," said Liew.

EcoWorld London is EcoWorld International's 70 per cent-owned UK joint venture. It has 12 sites in Greater London and the southeast, with an estimated gross development value of more than £2.6 billion (RM13.9 billion).

The London firm recently inked a deal with Invesco real estate which will acquire 1,000 BtR homes in a deal worth £389 million. The apartments are to be specifically developed at Kew Bridge in West London and Barking in East London for long-term rental on behalf of one of Invesco real estate's international separate account clients.

These two sites have been identified as locations facing an undersupply of rented homes and have the ability to outperform the wider London market.

As part of the agreement, EcoWorld London will let and manage the rental homes on behalf of the investor under a long-term contract.

Construction work has commenced on both sites and the new homes will be available to rent from late 2020.

Liew said the successful signing of contracts for such a sizeable investment only three months from the date the heads of agreement was announced was a testament to the strong pulling power that the London property market continues to command globally.

"This is a fantastic start to EcoWorld International's ambition of becoming a BtR market leader in the UK," he said.

The target for EcoWorld London is to secure 10,000 homes under the BtR programme over the next five years.

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