Mark Watkin Jones Inside London Property

Watkin Jones targets 1,500 build-to-rent apartments by 2022

The Bangor-based contractor and developer is planning to build 1,500 private rented apartments between 2018 and 2022, with the company on track to hit its financial targets in its upcoming full-year results.

In a trading update ahead of its full-year results due in January 2018, the company said it planned to deliver the units across three major development sites, subject to planning approval, by 2022.

Watkin Jones said it was “encouraged” by growth prospects in the build-to-rent market alongside its core student accommodation offering.

In student accommodation, the company delivered 3,300 student beds across 10 schemes ahead of the 2017-18 academic year, and plans to deliver 3,415 more beds in its 2018 financial year.

Watkin Jones has also forward sold five student accommodation developments including 2,600 beds ahead of the 2019/20 academic year, and has secured a further eight development sites, totalling 2,700 beds, which will be delivered between 2019 and 2021.

Mark Watkin Jones, chief executive officer of Watkin Jones, said: “We are pleased to have delivered on our development pipeline objectives for the year, alongside a strong operational performance and expect to report underlying earnings in line with the board’s expectations.

“2017 has been another year of significant progress for the group with our student accommodation, build to rent and accommodation management divisions all performing strongly, providing us with excellent future earnings and cash flow visibility.

“This demonstrates the robustness of our model and ability to deliver significant returns for our shareholders.”

Watkin Jones’ share price rose from 227.5p to 234.5p following the trading update. In its most recent full-year results, the company posted a revenue of £266.9m for the year to 30 September 2016, and a pre-tax profit of £13.3m.

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