A new lease of life...
Welcome to a New Lease of Life, a sub-series of the devcast…podcast, where you’ll be learning how experts of the BTR, PRS, student accommodation and retirement living sectors climbed the ladder of their professions.
Hosted by Nick Hammond, Head of Build to Rent at deverellsmith, our guest in the studio this episode is Christian Grahame, Head of HOME, Australia’s leading creator operator of apartment communities exclusively for rent.
Prior to being part of the team that established HOME in 2017, he was the National head of Apartments for a major listed Australian developer, working on award-winning residential and mixed-use urban renewal projects in Australia and the UK.
He is a pioneer in the Australian BTR sector and is currently Chair of the Property Council of Australia’s ‘National BTR Roundtable’. Passionate about customer experience, the built environment, and the difference the property industry makes in our communities, he sat down to discuss how he became one of the first trailblazers within the Australian BTR industry and the opportunities and challenges he faced along the way.
Key takeaways from the UK BTR market…
Christian shared that his journey to Build to Rent took him to the UK between 2007 and 2012, where he immersed himself in the world of urban renewal, and quickly discovered that the UK was at the forefront of innovation in this field.
One of his notable experiences included active involvement in projects within the Stratford area, a place that held significance during the 2012 Olympics. Christian shared that one specific project that left a lasting impression on him was Coppermaker Square, a key part of the Westfield Stratford development, which was completed in 2008, prior to the rise of the Build to Rent market. It was here that Christian had a front-row seat to observe how these urban precincts took shape and evolved through the process of urban renewal. Remarkably, during Christian's time in the UK, the concept of BTR had yet to fully emerge and establish itself as it is today.
Christian’s experience during that time provided him with a unique perspective on urban development and renewal, which would later prove invaluable in shaping HOME’s progressive approach to BTR and sustainability. He understood the power of urban renewal in areas like Stratford, Croydon and even Wembley, and how they benefited the community, especially in terms of housing supply to the area.
Integrating sustainability practices into HOME communities…
In the realm of sustainability, HOME is making impressive strides, demonstrating its commitment to progressiveness. Christian revealed that their inspiration to embrace sustainability practices stemmed from interactions with UK Build to Rent groups during Australian conferences several years ago.
These forward-thinking BTR groups, upon reflecting on their journey, candidly admitted that as they neared completion of their initial assets, they wished they had pushed the boundaries a bit further on their sustainability targets as the landscape of expectations had moved under their feet.
Fast-forward to today, all of HOME’s buildings are now 5-star green or equivalent, and Christian and the entire team are setting their sights on achieving net-zero carbon emissions in all aspects of operations, including across management. HOME also does a lot of work with its residents, creating an education programme which generates opportunities for them to live sustainably wherever they can.
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