Astir was formed in 2017 by a team with more than 100 years of combined residential development experience having been involved in the delivery of many of the iconic buildings and regeneration schemes across London.
Since 2010 the team has been at the forefront of the nascent build to rent sector, delivering and managing over 1,000 homes now in institutional ownership and used exclusively for rent.
Astir has a straightforward vision: making living better for our residents and their communities.
We aspire to create designed for purpose, build to rent homes across London that will become a new class of housing to replace the traditional Buy to Let and second home investor.
We will manage the properties over the long term through our ALIVE PLACES brand and the investments we create will be owned by long term patient capital from UK pension funds.
This vision is at the heart of every decision we make and by staying true to it we aspire to leave a legacy that has had a positive social impact whilst also delivering a fantastic long term investment for our partners.
“In a state of excited movement”
We aim to create a different class of housing where renting a home becomes a choice and not a financial necessity; where different people live together in a conveniently located, diverse and vibrant community.
A place where residents can be themselves and feel at home; where it is easy to connect and make friends; where Londoners can feel secure and choose to rent for the long term.
Our homes and places will provide:
a mix of well-designed homes for between one and four residents;
rents that are affordable for those earning median London salaries with up to 35% of homes affordable for those earning less;
long-term, secure tenancies;
places with a welcoming on-site presence with space for working, playing,
socialising and relaxing;
modern, environmentally friendly and well-designed buildings all within a 30 minute commute to central London
Our values, which are our foundations, place individual and collective wellbeing at the centre of our thinking;
to be industrious, recognising the importance of hard work and application to success;
to always be fair in our dealings;
to embrace and encourage creativity to our ideas and solutions;
to care passionately about what we do and how we do it
Why Build to Rent?
The UK needs to build many more homes to meet the demands of increasing life expectancy, changes in household formations and general economic growth. Homes to rent are and will continue to be an important part of the overall housing mix, providing around 25% of the overall housing stock.
Homes for rent are an important ingredient of a successful economy; required to house a transient and flexible workforce and meeting a demand across the entire spectrum of housing need and demographics.
Traditionally, the rental market in the UK has been supplied by private landlords who purchase property as a ‘Buy to Let’ investment, often ‘off plan’ from residential developers. This market is unregulated and standards can be variable. Tenancies are normally contracted on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (“AST”) which gives landlords a lot of control and flexibility.
What has emerged from this model are homes that are built by developers to meet the demand of the investor – and not the residents. Homes that are designed to be small to reduce the prices paid by investors and to maximise the profits for developers.
We are convinced we can do much better. We have started by recognising that our customer is the resident of the home and not a private landlord. Our owner is patient institutional capital (typically UK pension funds) whose interests are directly aligned with providing our residents with a positive experience and long term tenancies.
We have been inspired to look at renting with fresh eyes, unconstrained by traditional thinking and receptive to new ideas. We have ended up at a very different place which delivers better living, better investments and better places.
WHAT WE DO
SOURCING AND ACQUIRING OPPORTUNITIES
The Astir team has acquired over 100 large scale residential projects largely in London but also across the UK over the last 20 years. We have a network of personal relationships in the market that cannot be easily replicated and is the bedrock of access to development opportunities on a bilateral and marketed basis. We are able to match capital with risk to acquire land with or without planning. Our development expertise means we are able to assess risk quickly and we can make quick and informed decisions for landowners with the benefit of full financial backing.
The Astir team has significant experience of securing residential planning consents and has never failed to secure a planning consent on any sites acquired. Astir has access to an experienced supply chain of professionals who can work quickly and efficiently towards securing planning. As developers, we are charged with ensuring that a planning consent can be implemented which in turn requires a full understanding of the myriad of constraints so that the right solution can be negotiated. We are happy to undertake planning risk and have funding in place to acquire land on an unconditional or subject to planning (or option) basis, whether this is for a re-planning to meet the requirements of a build to rent scheme or to secure the planning consent from concept.
FUNDING AND INVESTMENT
The Astir team has sourced significant funding for projects and works with investors to acquire and manage suitable projects and raise senior bank debt and other long term financing as required. Astir has secured substantial funding from a number of UK Pension Funds through Gresham House and the British Strategic Investment Fund (as seed investors) to invest into build to rent in London for suitable developments with a planning consent. Additionally, Astir has sourced capital to acquire land unconditionally and purchase land with planning risk in order to source suitable developments. Astir co-invests with the Funds to ensure alignment of interest in the long term delivery of projects.
The Astir team has experience of development management and can undertake all forms of project management services on behalf of the investors. Alternatively, where suitable investment opportunities are identified with a recognised developer who prefers to implement the scheme themselves, Astir can provide a more limited scope of services along with ultimate Property Management.
Astir’s experience of build to rent reinforces the importance of Property Management to the long term success of the places we create and the investment performance. We believe that this is too important to outsource. It is the interface with our customers and defines the places we create. Only by designing the buildings in the way we aim to manage them can we deliver the best living experience. Only by recruiting, training and retaining those that share our vision and values can we deliver our promises. In short it is how we bring our places alive. That is why we have created ALIVE PLACES.
Astir is seeking high quality Build to Rent (“BtR”) opportunities on behalf of institutional investors on the following criteria;
Land with or without residential (C3) or mixed use planning consent.
Investments at scale for a minimum 5,000m² / 75 units. No maximum size.
Tall towers in zones 1-2 are not a constraining factor for the right site and location.
Within 10 minute walk of a tube / rail station in zones 1-4.
Investments delivering homes with a positive social and local impact are particularly sought after.
Turnkey investment or development opportunities considered.