Retail giant John Lewis & Partners has made clear its plans to build 10,000 new rental properties by 2031. The move comes soon after they confirmed further store closures across the UK and is seen as a strategic move to help secure its long-term future following a year of restricted trading conditions.
It is thought that John Lewis aims to diversify its current holdings, making use of sites it already owns such as store car parks and above it’s Waitrose supermarkets. This is said to account for up to 7,000 of the new properties which will range from studio flats to four-bedroom houses.
New sites are also being purchased for development of these properties with the first John Lewis homes planned for Southeast England, as they look to capitalise on the higher prices and increased demand offered.
House prices in England have risen drastically in the last year alone, with the recent stamp duty holiday offered by the government, which ended on June 30th, thought to have added over £17,000 to the average house price in England.
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In its plan, John Lewis said it pledges to offer fair rents and long term security to tenants, it is reportedly also offering discounted rent to all 80,000 members of staff. Chris Harris, the partnership’s property director said:
“Typically, a developer might try and maximise returns and then move onto the next one… we are not trying to do that. We are aiming to charge a fair rent and to stay for the long haul.”
Residents will also have the option to rent their property fully furnished with the department stores products or using their own. It is thought included within the plans; Waitrose convenience stores could be located close to the developments.
The retailer is preparing to lodge a handful of planning applications early next year.