Investors focus on commercial-to-residential conversions

Developers and investors have switched their attention from new builds to commercial-to-residential conversions, according to property investment firm Fabrik Invest.

Converting existing buildings is cheaper and faster than constructing a new build from scratch, while many are in attractive locations.

Dale Anderson, managing director, Fabrik Invest, said: “We’re seeing much more emphasis – from both the developers and the investors that we work with, and particularly over the past six months – on commercial to residential conversions.

“This is marking a significant and sustained swing away from new builds, as lower risk, more economical projects appeal more in the pandemic era.”

He added: “New builds can take two to three years to complete, whereas a conversion can be finished in just three to six months.

“That’s a huge difference for developers in terms of risk, as well as cost. It’s also extremely appealing for investors looking to receive income as quickly as possible.”

Over 60,000 homes have been created using permitted development rights over the past four years, according to Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick.

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