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21 Nov 16

Buy-to-let gentrification: Extending social change through tenure shifts.

private rental sector,

Reference: PACCOUD Antoine. Buy-to-let gentrification: Extending social change through tenure shifts. Environment and Planning A, 2016.

Online First: 18/11/2016

DOI: 10.1177/0308518X16679406


Abstract: Recent discussions of gentrification in the UK have centred on new builds and on the influence of particular public programmes. This paper focuses on a form of gentrification that has cut across both of these: buy-to-let, broadly defined as the purchase and transfer of a dwelling to the private rental market. Initiated in response to a favourable legislative and financial context, this form of property investment has not usually been considered as gentrification, likely because it is at odds with the historical link between gentrification and ownership in the UK, poses problems with consumption side explanations and is not seen as displacing low-income residents. The paper uses a detailed comparison of small-area social and tenure data from the 2001 and 2011 UK censuses to show that buy-to-let has become a prominent tenure trajectory in gentrifying neighbourhoods. This prominence emerges from the opportunity it affords to use the general value gap created by the deregulation of the private rental sector to close rent gaps in the most urban, central and disadvantaged areas of England. This tenure shift, shown to be intrinsically linked to gentrification, creates vast opportunities for asset appreciation but also initiates long term trajectories of displacement in surrounding areas.