The UKAA hosted a roundtable covering the question of furniture and BTR presented by Roomservice By CORT, hosted by Howard de Walden. Many thanks to everyone that joined us, it was a full roundtable!
With so much focus on service and tenant experience, we wanted to discuss the approaches, experiences and opportunities when it comes to furnishing rental units – or not.
What do tenants prefer, and why, and how can we as operators and suppliers ensure we meet those needs and expectations.
This was an incredibly constructive discussion with both sides being explored.
Furnishing can create barriers to entry for Build To Rent customers.
Here are some quotes from the day:
Dave Butler, CEO, UKAA:
“Just as the cost of deposits are a barrier for people trying to move in to the PRS sector, so is the cost of furniture.”
Tim Swaddle, Roomservice by CORT:
“The cost of purchasing furniture, at a standard that is going to last a good few years is a huge barrier upfront; and the question is what happens when it needs replaced, or the next tenant doesn’t want it? Leasing the furniture shifts the cost to an operating costs. As far as a value, or economising it, a rent premium for furnished properties, as an concept has never existed in the UK market, and uptake of furnished properties reflects what we’re seeing in the US multi-family market.”
However, with Build To Rent being such a lucrative investment option, does furnishing really hurt it’s value?
David Woodward, GAA:
“As it stands, the build to rent market is one of the most attractive investment options for institutional investor in the property market – the consistent demand means it’s a stable sector, with high return and relative low risk.”
Jason Hardman, CBRE:
“The PRS market is still driven by location, and we find that it’s very much ‘horses for courses’ when it comes to furniture. Offering furniture can often be used as an incentive for tenants, and in the last two years, we’ve seen landlords much more focussed on both amenities and how the units are presented in terms of furnishings and options for tenants.”
Overall, it can be said that as a sector we have to accommodate what our customers want, which is customisation,
Woods Bagot Europe:
“We are a subscription-living generation; we don’t need to win anything, it’s all about customisation and temporary leasing and subscribing to what we need, when we need it. With furniture, it’s just as important to cater to different tastes, and offer options based on what each tenant wants now, rather than them buying a sofa themselves that won’t be trendy or suitable for their next home.”
Please check back on this page next week for the full write-up of this roundtable.