The number of build-to-rent homes complete, under construction and in planning across the UK, has increased by 30 per cent in the past year, according to the British Property Federation (BPF).

The BPF’s first set of annual data on the build-to-rent sector there are now 117,893 build-to-rent homes, compared to the total of 90,761 homes at the end of the first quarter of last year.

When looking specifically at the number of completed build-to-rent homes, the total has increased by 45 per cent, growing from 14,371 to 20,863, in the corresponding period.

This figure is even higher for the number of build-to-rent homes under construction, which has increased by 47 per cent.

For the first time, included in the total figures for 'in planning', the research has tracked the capacity of strategic sites across the country identified for build-to-rent.

A total of 17,578 homes have been earmarked by local authorities and developers for delivery on these sites.

The number of homes provided by the build-to-rent sector has shot up in both London and the regions.

The regions, however, now have a significant lead over London in approving new developments, with 62 per cent of all build-to-rent homes under construction.

Total number of build-to-rent homes complete, under construction and in planning across London and the regions at the end of Q1 2018.

Outside London, the North West leads with the highest volume of build-to-rent homes complete, under construction and in planning.

Ian Fletcher, director of real estate policy at BPF, said: “The build-to-rent sector is evolving quickly, with significant delivery in the regions and more houses, rather than just apartments, coming forward.

“Policy is also adapting, as to date the sector has grown without a planning blueprint. This is now changing.

“With the draft revised National Planning Policy Framework, local authorities will now have to specifically identify how many new rental homes their respective areas need. This has never before been enshrined in UK planning policy.

“Clearly, there are exemplar local authorities across the UK leading the charge, giving build-to-rent a chance to expand in the regions and demonstrate that it can cater for a wider range of people.

“The sector, however, has significant potential to deliver more professionally-managed homes for all renters seeking higher quality service and facilities.”

Build to rent was also one of the growth areas identified by Simple Landlords Insurance’s ‘Emerging Landlord’ report last week.

Tom Cooper, Director of Underwriting at Simple said: “Successful landlords are looking to diversify their strategies, and build to rent – alongside flats, Houses of Multiple Occupation, and Holiday Lets – are an area of growth. Now landlords need financial products and services to support them as they start to invest differently in property.”

Carl Agar, landlord, developer, letting agent, NLA rep and Simple Landlords blogger, also talks more about build to rent in his latest blog.