OUR PURPOSE & VALUES
Our purpose is to lead the charge into a new era of affordable and sustainable housing development within Central London, backed by long-term capital.
We strive to create ALIVE PLACES where people from all walks of life and ages can live together in a conveniently located, diverse and vibrant community. A place where it is easy to connect and make friends, yet still enjoy privacy. A place where you can be yourself and feel at home.
Our values, which place wellbeing at the centre of our thinking, are:
To be industrious, recognising the importance of
hard work and application to success;
To always be fair and caring in our dealings;
To embrace and encourage creative ideas and solutions.
Astir was formed in 2017 by a team with over 100 years of residential development experience at the forefront of the nascent build to rent sector in the UK.
We have a straightforward aim of 'Making Living Better' for our residents and their communities. This vision is at the heart of every decision we make and by staying true to it we aspire to leave a legacy that will have a positive social impact whilst also delivering a fantastic long term investment for our partners.
We are astir.
Why Build to Rent?
Astir believes the UK needs to build many more homes to meet the demands of increasing life expectancy, changes in household formations and the continuing growth of the UK economy.
We believe that 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. We understand that homes for rent are an important ingredient of a successful economy; required to home a transient and flexible workforce and meeting a demand across the entire spectrum of housing need and demographics.
Traditionally, the UK rental market has been supplied by private landlords who purchase property as a ‘Buy to Let’ investment, often ‘off plan’ from residential developers. It is rare that off plan high rise development, particularly in London meets the needs of homebuyers. Many of the investors (up to 90%), particularly in London, are international investors attracted to the UK by a favourable tax regime for non-resident landlords and who buy from developers who sell their homes across the world. The effect has been ever escalating prices of new build homes and volatile house prices.
The tax treatment has recently changed and international investors have withdrawn from the UK market and we believe these are the conditions that creates the opportunity for institutional owners (UK Pension Funds and Insurance capital) who are long term, patient investors to acquire property to be developed as build to rent and offer a different living experience.
What has emerged from this model is 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. Our customer is the resident of the home and by putting their needs and requirements at the centre of our thinking we can deliver on our vision of making living better. Homes for rent that are affordable for people living and working in the UK and places which have a sense of community and are friendly, happy and healthy places to live.
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. Our development expertise means we are able to assess risk quickly and we can make quick and informed decisions on valuation.
The Astir team has significant experience of securing residential planning consents and has never failed to secure a planning consent on any sites acquired. We have access to a 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 experience of fund raising 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 an initial £500 million funding line from a number of UK Pension Funds through Gresham House and the British Strategic Investment Fund (“BSIF”) to invest into build to rent in London for suitable developments with a planning consent. Additionally, Astir has sourced alternative 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 will provide a more limited scope of services and 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 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 ALIVEPLACES.COM.
Astir are actively looking for development opportunities that meet the following criteria;
Size & Scale
Established residential location with proximity to neighbourhood amenities and transport links
Within a 30 minute door to door commute to central London
A minimum of 10,000m2 of C3 residential potential (100+ homes)
No maximum scale
Planning is not a limiting factor. Astir has investors willing to finance and/or undertake planning on an unconditional or conditional basis.
Astir is also able to acquire land on behalf of investors at a fully consented stage on a ‘turnkey’ (forward funded) or land acquisition basis.