In search of a catalyst: What do the US and German experiences tell us about the prospects for an institutional private rented sector in the United Kingdom?
North American investors are accustomed to talking about the “four main food groups” of real estate — office, retail, industrial and apartments. While the first three play a role in all developed economies, in many countries an institutional market for rented apartments is less established or simply does not exist. In the United States, the multifamily rental apartment market is exceptionally liquid, institutional and professionalised. In Germany, the investable stock takes a different physical form to that of the United States and the institutional market is younger, but rented residential has clearly become a leading sector for investment. By contrast, the private rented sector in the United Kingdom is in a much less mature stage of its development, with just a few early institutional transactions completed, although it has been a hot topic of discussion at recent property industry events. (In this article, we use several terms interchangeably to refer to the rented apartmen