In the Spotlight with Paul Stockwell
This editorial was featured on Property Reporter .
Paul Stockwell, Chief Commercial Officer
PR: How long have you been in the property industry and what is your current role?
PS: “My current role is Chief Commercial Officer at Gatehouse Bank. I’ve held it for just over five years and it brings me an immense amount of pride. I’m a member of the bank’s Executive Committee and sit on the Credit, Executive Risk, Asset and Liability, and Real Estate Investment Committees.
“Prior to this, I worked at various other challenger banks, including TSB and Aldermore. In total, I’ve worked in the property and banking industry for over twenty years but no two days are ever the same.”
PR: What is Gatehouse Bank’s history within the Build to Rent sector?
PS: “Gatehouse successfully completed its first £100m Private Rented Sector (PRS) scheme, named Thistle, in 2017, creating a portfolio of 918 new rental homes across 15 sites in Greater Manchester and Merseyside.
“We then launched the second portfolio in December 2015, with a further investment of £100m from a Sovereign Wealth fund, to build homes across Greater Manchester, Merseyside, and the West Midlands. The Thistle portfolio was the first large scale PRS portfolios of family homes in the UK. Following a five-year hold period, we sold the Thistle portfolio to Goldman Sachs in January 2021, in what was the largest deal of its kind in the UK at the time.
“In August last year, we launched our third Build to Rent venture in a £500m partnership with TPG Real Estate Partners to build up to 2,500 suburban, purpose-built family rental homes across the North and Midlands. This joint venture is called Start Living. We have already secured a portfolio of sites and are looking forward to pressing ahead.”
PR: What are your predictions for Build to Rent in the next 12 months and beyond?
PS: “I’d tip Build to Rent to continue its significant growth in the next year and beyond. We’ve seen a huge uptick in capital targeting the sector, including Private Equity and Pension Funds, and I think there’s more to come. The British Property Federation recently revealed that the number of Build to Rent homes completed, under construction, or in the planning stage is up 13% on the same time a year ago. A fantastic achievement. With a record number of local authorities including Build to Rent in their housing pipeline, I’m confident we’re riding the crest of a big wave.”
PR: Following years of profit squeezing via government policy changes, is Build to Rent going to be the final nail in the coffin for individual landlords?
PS: “Absolutely not. The Buy to Let market is thriving and there is a significant shortage of rental homes in the UK. Build to Rent offers another option to renters, it’s not taking away any existing options.”
PR: What are the main challenges facing the Build to Rent sector when it comes to helping to achieve net-zero?
PS: “The biggest challenge that the Build to Rent sector, and indeed the whole property industry, faces in achieving net zero is a lack of awareness and education. There’s still a lot of work to be done in terms of educating both property professionals and their clients on retrofitting methods associated with net zero.
“The elephant in the room is also cost. As with most products, having an ethical source comes at a premium. The reality is that many landlords will not have the disposable income to invest in energy-saving materials or improvements, even if it saves them money in the long-term. The Green Homes Grant was a good idea in principle and should have helped to address this challenge.”
PR: How is the Build to Rent sector helping to address the UK housing crisis?
PS: “The Build to Rent sector is providing quality rental housing at scale, something that’s long overdue. The UK has a historic imbalance between housing supply and demand, which Build to Rent looks to not only correct but do so quickly.
“By forward funding the construction of purpose-built homes, Build to Rent is unlocking sites and also driving up standards in the private rented sector.”