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Keep calm and carry on: development sector remains robust

Only a little while ago, the Bank of England base rate was at a record low, ultra-cheap mortgages were in abundance and property prices were climbing strongly on the back of soaring demand.

Fast-forward to today and the market looks like a very different place, indeed.

In an article I wrote a few months ago, I warned of an impending slowdown in the UK’s property market. However, the pace at which conditions have changed has taken us all by surprise.

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In those few months, the Bank of England has hiked rates to a high of 3.5%, the economy is heading for recession and, according to surveyors, demand for property is falling. That has had a knock-on effect on house prices, which fell on a monthly basis in October for the first time since July 2021, according to Nationwide’s House Price Index. On top of that, some have predicted a sharp fall in house prices next year, as households grapple with rising mortgage rates and soaring inflation.

But while the outlook may seem gloomy, let’s not forget the fundamentals that underpin the housing market in this country.

The UK is property-obsessed and therefore, while transactions may dip in the short-term, history suggests that the market will recover.

It’s also worth remembering that we, as a country, do not build enough houses. Experts often say we need to build 300,000 new homes a year to keep up with household formation, but we haven’t done that since the 1970s. Until that happens, house prices will continue to be supported by the imbalance between supply and demand.

Read about the UK Housing Market via our Specialist Residential & Buy to Let Division

Another thing to note is that we’ve seen foreign investment in the UK’s property market hold up well, proving that the asset class remains attractive to investors. Softening house prices and a weak pound will actually boost the attractiveness of UK property to foreign investors even further, which might offset lower activity from domestic investors.

If anything, then, I expect the specialist end of the market, such as bridging and development finance, to remain fairly robust, even if activity tails off in the mainstream market. However, that is not to say conditions will remain the same for investors and developers as they had been.

Specialist lenders retain an appetite to lend despite the worsening economic outlook, but it’s clear that developers will have to pay more for finance in the future than they did in the past.

Truth be told, development finance has arguably been artificially cheap for too long, so a correction was due at some point. The rates developers pay have gone up, but with most of the expected increases now priced in, we should see them begin to settle.

Lenders may also want to see proof that developers are controlling costs in a high-inflation environment. That means not overpaying for land and developing good relationships with builders’ merchants to ensure you can lock-in your long-term costs.

However, like I said, I am confident that lenders will not turn off the taps. While they will want to manage the increased risk that comes with a challenging economic environment, they will also want to compete hard for the business that is left.

Although conditions do look challenging, I do believe that the development sector will hold up relatively well in the coming months.

By Guy Murray

Source: Development Finance Today

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£3.6m funding deal enables housing scheme at former social club site

Specialist lender, Together, has agreed a £3.6m funding facility for a family-orientated homes development in South Yorkshire.

Housebuilder Walshaw Homes is constructing 22 homes on a plot of land on the site of a demolished social club in Main Street, Hackenthorpe, Sheffield.

The developer’s funding partner, Together, provided the finance package for the “Valley View” scheme of three and four-bedroom luxury homes. The homes are available for between £225,000 and £350,000.

Walshaw Homes managing director, Joel Richards, approached Together – which provides commercial and development finance and has a loan book of £4.8bn – after his firm acquired the site of the long since demolished Cherry Tree Social Club.

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Becky Hall, head of origination at Together, said: “We agreed to provide the funding after seeing the potential of the location and having been really impressed with the vision of Walshaw Homes and its managing director, Joel Richards.

“I already had a strong business relationship with the developer, having worked with them in the past, so it’s great to help Joel and the team realise their ambitions for this latest scheme as it begins to take shape – it will bring quality housing to meet the needs of Sheffield’s growing population.”

Planning permission for the housing scheme was granted in November last year, allowing construction to begin in June. It is expected to be completed by August 2023.

Read about the UK Housing Market via our Specialist Residential & Buy to Let Division

Richards said: “Construction is now well underway, with foundations in place for five of the plots, and there has been a huge amount of local interest.

“These new, modern two and three-storey homes will be ideal for couples and young families and are next door to local shops with other amenities such as the Crystal Peaks shopping centre and the Rother Valley Country Park just on the doorstep.

“It’s fantastic that Together has agreed to support us. It’s particularly beneficial to have a lender on board which really understands the needs of developers like us and is willing to help turn our exciting vision into a reality.”

By Miran Rahman

Source: The Business Desk

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PM promises thousands of new homes and radical planning reform

PM Boris Johnson (pictured) has pledged that, as part of a suite of measures to rebuild the economy following the COVID-19 crisis, the government will aim to build thousands of new homes on Brownfield sites and others.

Johnson also flagged ‘radical’ upcoming planning reform at levels that he claimed have not been seen since the end of World War 2.

He also promised that the economic crisis would not be met with a return to austerity measures.

During the announcement, Johnson said: “We’re preparing now slowly, cautiously to come out of hibernation, and I believe it’s absolutely vital for us to set out the way ahead, so that everyone can think and plan for the future, short, medium and long-term.”

In reference to home building, specifically, he added: “There has been an intergenerational injustice and the government will now help to get the young on the housing ladder just as their parents did.

“Build, build, build. Build better. Build faster.”

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Managing Director of estate agent Barrows and Forrester, James Forrester, commented:

“Today’s announcement by the Prime Minister is a rallying call to commerce, industry, the property sector and finance, to piggy-back his huge spending plans and literally put Britain back together again.

We seem set to spend our way to fiscal health and to ensure, in particular, that there is finally a genuine home-building revolution to match similar investment intentions in the transport, education and health sectors.

What a welcome relief this is and at just the right time.”

Marc von Grundherr, director of lettings and estate agent Benham and Reeves commented: “Like many areas of life, the severe lack of homes being built has understandably taken a back seat.

“However, it now stands as one of the pillars on which the government is forming its economic recovery plan.

“Hopefully, this added emphasis on such a burning issue will result in some action and this will be nothing but positive for the UK property market.

“Of course, there is always the danger that, like many before him, the Prime Minister’s words will equate to little more than just that.

“With the UK property market still facing a very uncertain landscape, we certainly hope this isn’t the case.”

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former residential chairman of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), said: “While, of course, the announcement of more building is very welcome we want to see more specifics, not just on desperately-needed affordable housing projects but a strict timetable for delivery, especially of sites with planning.

“So many of the larger schemes in particular are mired in planning or lending red tape so certainly the concentration on infrastructure will help to release many from that log jam by improving connectivity.”

Mark Hayward, chief executive at NAEA Propertymark, said: “Propertymark welcomes the Prime Minister’s ambition to bounce back as we enter the new phase of this pandemic.

“It is important that as we try to reboot the economy we build a greater supply of affordable houses that can rejuvenate urban areas most affected by this crisis.

“Simplification of the planning process will ease the pressures caused on the supply of homes and ensure the property market drives the UK’s economic recovery.

“We look forward to working with government during its White Paper process later this month to ensure the system has less red tape and is easier to navigate.”

By Jessica Bird

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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Affordable housing progress made but statistics hit by coronavirus

The number of affordable housing approvals and starts in Scotland has increased compared to a year ago while affordable home completions have fallen, new figures have shown.

The housing statistics quarterly update for June 2020 found that in the year to end March 2020, there were a total of 12,886 homes approved through the Scottish Government affordable housing supply programme, which includes off-the-shelf purchases and rehabilitations as well as new builds. This is an increase of 1,756 homes (16%) on the previous year, and an increase of 62% compared with the year to end March 2016.

In the same period, 12,045 affordable homes were started, an increase of 1,173 homes (11%) on the previous year, and an increase of 57% compared with the year to end March 2016.

There were 9,286 homes delivered in the year to end March 2020, a decrease of 282 homes (3%) on the previous year, but an increase of 42% compared with the year to end March 2016.

It should be noted that the amount of affordable housing supply activity recorded in the most recent quarter January to March 2020 will have been impacted on by the introduction of government advice and measures to reduce the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) from mid-March onwards, in which non-essential construction activity stopped, and home buyers were advised to delay moving to a new home where possible.

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This has lowered the total amount of activity recorded for this quarter compared to what would otherwise have been the case. Year to date totals to end March 2020 will also have been affected.

Figures for the next quarter April to June 2020, which are due to be reported on in the quarterly housing statistics update in September 2020, are likely to see an even greater impact due to COVID measures continuing throughout April and May, and into June 2020.

The statistics were due to include an update on all-sector new house building starts and completions to end December 2019, with more recent figures on social sector new builds to end March 2020.

However, due to the impacts of COVID-19, some local authorities have been unable to provide new build data to the usual timescales. The government said it is working with local authorities to agree reasonable extensions to submission deadlines, and is aiming to publish this new build housing data as soon as possible.

Commenting on the statistics, the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) repeated its call for housing to be at heart of Scotland’s economic recovery.

Head of policy and innovation, Lorna Wilson, said: “The Scottish Government has made progress into tackling housing need in Scotland since 2016, and it looks likely that it was on track to meet its 50,000 affordable homes target, before the programme was paused due to the coronavirus pandemic. The government must be given credit for this, and it’s vital this progress – and the ambition behind it – is maintained and not lost.

“SFHA recently released research with CIH Scotland and Shelter Scotland which found that we need 53,000 affordable homes to be delivered between 2021–2026. By committing to this new target, the government can reduce housing need, tackle child poverty and kick-start Scotland’s economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis.”

The SFHA also welcomed this week’s report by the Advisory Group on Economic Recovery which also called for the Scottish Government to invest in affordable housing as part of its recommendations.

Housing minister Kevin Stewart said: “I am proud that we have now delivered over 95,000 affordable homes since 2007 with more than 66,000 of these for social rent. We were on track to deliver our target of 50,000 affordable homes by the end of March 2021, but the impact of COVID-19 has caused a necessary pause to activity.

“We will continue to work with partners across the housing sector to deliver the remainder of these homes, as quickly as it is safe to do so and I look forward to construction resuming in a new safe way.”

Source: Scottish Construction Now

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New housing projects announced by North Lanarkshire Council

North Lanarkshire Council has added further sites for new build homes, awarded new contracts to take forward more developments and outlined housing plans for villages and town centres as it drives forward its plans to deliver 5,000 new council homes across the region.

The four towns for which proposals are being sought are Motherwell (including Ravenscraig), Bellshill, Airdrie and Coatbridge. Other suitable locations may be considered on a site by site basis. Developers are being asked to contact the council to part of its plans.

According to the local authority, the new contracts, combined with the Development Pathfinder scheme to purchase more properties from private housebuilders, are helping to support North Lanarkshire’s economic recovery and sustain jobs as the region emerges from the COVID-19 lockdown situation.

The council’s teams have continued to progress housing projects during lockdown, ensuring contracts continue to move forward, and to prepare purchases of homes through the Open Market Purchase Scheme which will see the purchase of former council homes restart once restrictions are lifted.

Continuing to identify sites is seen as “crucial” to ensuring its phased plans to demolish existing tower blocks and build new accessible homes are met.

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Some of the recently approved proposals include:

  • Potential sites for new homes identified at Glenacre Drive, Airdrie; Gibb Street, Chapelhall and Graham Street, Wishaw, which will be developed in conjunction with the redevelopment of the social work office at King Street to support the regeneration of our town centres.
  • Approval to award contracts to take forward new build homes on the sites of the former Belhaven House, Wishaw; the former Chiltern’s House, Chryston at the former council flats in Northburn Avenue, Airdrie; Burnhall Place, Waterloo and Caledonian Avenue, Bellshill.
  • Ambitious plans to convert the former Municipal Buildings, Kildonan Street, Coatbridge, into new affordable homes

Other town centre housing projects are also progressing and include plans for the redevelopment at: Kingshouse, King Street (Wishaw) for town centre residential use; the former Methodist Church site in Wishaw for new town centre flats; the vacant YMCA building on Windmillhill Street, Motherwell and the future regeneration of the fire damaged site on Main Street, Coatbridge.

Plans to address the derelict building at the former Sharks Mouth pub, Bank Street, Coatbridge have also taken a major step forward. Planning permission is granted and approval given to progress with the procurement of the work, including demolition of most of the building while retaining some of the façade of the pub.

Councillor Pat O’Rourke, acting convener of communities and housing, said: “Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, construction work, in line with Scottish Government guidelines, has come to a halt. However, we’ve continued to work behind the scenes to push forward our ambitious housing programme to ensure we deliver our target.

“This means we’re ready to support the construction industry at this difficult time as soon as it’s safe to be up and running again.

“The contracts we’ve awarded also include a range of community benefits for local areas including careers events for school children, grants to local groups, new jobs and apprenticeship opportunities. By creating local jobs and training we’ll be strengthening our local economy over a sustained period.

“Improving the lives of our tenants and regenerating our local communities and town centres are the drivers behind our long term ambition. It’s an exciting time for North Lanarkshire and we’re committed to delivering on our ambitions and aspirations for the area and our residents.”

Source: Scottish Housing News

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Build-to-rent development launches in Wembley

HUB has completed Chesterfield House in Wembley, North London, a 239-home build-to-rent development designed by architects Maccreanor Lavington.

The landmark scheme, which comprises two buildings of 21 and 26-storeys, has been handed over to Realstar, which will operate Chesterfield House under its UNCLE brand.

The development is now known as UNCLE Wembley.

Alex Hall, senior development manager at HUB, said: “The new development brings 239 exemplar build-to-rent homes to Wembley under the UNCLE brand, including extensive public realm and retail from which the whole community will benefit.

“Not only is the project a fantastic new asset for the area, it is also an architecturally superb building that we believe represents a real step-change in quality for Wembley and acts as a regeneration marker for the High Road.

“As we now look ahead to delivering Wembley Link, HUB’s second development in the revitalisation of Wembley High Road, we would like to thank the people of Wembley for their crucial input during consultation for Chesterfield House.

“We would also like to thank our contractors Henry Construction for their commitment to the project in ensuring the extremely high-quality and timely delivery of UNCLE Wembley.

“Since day one, HUB has worked closely with local people to secure the best outcome for everyone – and we believe that UNCLE Wembley represents just that.”

The property will offer a choice of furnished and unfurnished apartments, with the furnished element provided by Danish brand Bo Concept.

UNCLE said it made sure the amenities are also focused around enhancing the physical and mental well-being of its residents.

These include a fitness studio with Technogym equipment and a TRX wall, a Zen Zone which incorporates an InHere Meditation Studio, a rooftop terrace and BBQ area as well as an indoor three-point basketball court.

The two main blocks are connected by a seven-storey building which frames a new public square at ground floor level. The square features seating, paved areas as well as new planting.

A public walkway through the link building also provides access to potential future phases of development behind the High Road.

The project was delivered via a partnership between HUB and specialist investor Bridges Fund Management. Building contractor Henry Construction completed work at the Brent site last month following a three-year programme to deliver Wembley’s tallest building.


Source: Property Wire

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New home building can kick start the UK’s economic recovery, experts suggest

An £11.27bn investment in construction and a series of strategic decisions around new home building can kick start the UK’s economic recovery and deliver a £33bn return for the Government, according to experts at Birmingham City University.

Experienced regional economist Dr Steve McCabe and construction expert Mike Leonard have produced the Build Back Better: Covid-19 Economy Recovery Plan which features a blueprint for a safe return to construction, a set of recommendations to help stimulate demand for new homes and home improvement, and details on how to build essential infrastructure and train a new generation of skilled workers – acting as a catalyst for growth and delivering income for HMRC.

The plan, which follows a clear instruction from Prime Minister Boris Johnson that those in construction and manufacturing should now return to work, also calls on the Government to stand by its commitment to “do everything it takes” to fight the virus and support the UK economy, by investing £11.27bn in a wide reaching programme, designed to create mass employment and produce a £33 billion return.

Authored by Birmingham City University’s Dr Steve McCabe, Associate Professor at the Institute for Design and Economic Acceleration and Mike Leonard, Visiting Professor of Manufacturing and Construction and founder of the Get Britain Building campaign, the hard-hitting and wide-ranging plan brings together all sectors of the construction industry for a solution-led approach.

Recommendations and observations in the plan include:

  • A phased return to work following specific guidelines can ensure the protection of construction sites during pandemic
  • Small house builders, often highly efficient and providers of local employment and procurement, must be given encouragement
  • Address fuel poverty through direct intervention by local authorities using local companies
  • Construction can offer long term skilled employment opportunities that can act as a catalyst in achieving inclusive economic growth
  • Provide incentives and highlight environmental benefits for consumers to replace inefficient and outdated gas boilers
  • 30,000 new social houses built per year for the next three years will address living standards, mobility and some shortfall
  • Proposed Building Regulation changes should be delayed in light of exceptional circumstances posed by pandemic
  • Construction must be made more attractive as a career choice to young people through regional marketing campaigns

Of particular focus in Build Back Better: Covid-19 Economy Recovery Plan are SMEs, who dominate the sector, with a suggestion that UK Plc fully engages such businesses in order to build the infrastructure and new homes the UK needs, alongside investments to deal with fuel poverty and the upgrading of existing housing stock to meet the net zero 2050 obligations.

McCabe and Leonard – both based in the UK Midlands, an area KMPG has assessed as likely to be worst hit economically by the pandemic – also make strong recommendations to delay the introduction of non-safety related building regulations and provide a range of incentives to stimulate consumer demand, accelerate training and increase apprenticeship opportunities.

Mike Leonard, who is also CEO of Building Alliance, said, “History tells us that the construction industry is the tried and tested solution to drive economic recovery, not least due to the fact we manufacture the vast majority of building materials in the UK which provides resilience, skilled jobs and fast returns on investment. The upstream and downstream jobs in manufacturing, architecture, planning, engineering, distribution and construction, creates an unrivalled multiplier that can achieve inclusive growth, building back better and helping to rebalance our economy. Saving lives must remain our priority but we now have the signal to begin to safely unlock and begin the long path to economic recovery. Construction and the building materials manufacturers are now returning to work with the proper safeguards in place. We must now “Get Britain Building” and “Get Britain Working” delivering the scale of economic multiplier the county needs to bounce back stronger.”

Research carried out in 2018 by Birmingham City University and The Building Alliance calculated that building 300,000 homes a year using, as much as possible, British-made building materials and local builders, would generate an economic ‘uplift’ of more than £90 billion for the UK.

Dr Steve McCabe said, “Covid-19 has resulted in the loss of over 50,000 lives. The Government, quite rightly, locked the nation down to reduce the spread of the virus. However, recently published ONS (Office for National Statistics) data for GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in March clearly demonstrates that effectively closing down the economy through ‘lockdown’ has caused profound economic shock. It’s estimated that at least £2bn a day is being lost during the pandemic. The overall cost to the UK economy will exceed £300 billion and, depending on the speed of recovery, could be significantly higher. As and when it is safe to do so, a return in construction activity as well as the building materials manufacturing supporting it will underpin a fast and effective way to begin to begin the process of recovery from what is the greatest shock to the UK’s economy in living memory.”

Source: Birmingham Updates

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Housebuilders get back to business

The housebuilding sector started 2020 on the front foot thanks to the decisive victory by the Conservative party in the December 2019 general election.

The big majority seized by the pro-business Tory party injected optimism into the industry. The win for Boris Johnson’s Conservatives – who ran with a view to ‘get Brexit done’ – also put to bed the prospect the UK might hold a second referendum on EU membership, which set the scene for the UK to leave the EU in late January. A number of firms said they saw an uptick in customer interest after the election. It would appear that some people were holding off buying property until the political landscape became clearer. However, political uncertainty could reappear toward the end of 2020, when the UK will exit the transition period.

In recent years the sector has been fuelled by low interest rates, the Help to Buy scheme, and a willingness for banks to lend. The UK economy was in good shape at the start of the year as the unemployment rate was on par with levels last seen in the 1970s, and earnings were comfortably outstripping inflation, so workers were getting an increase in real wages. A strong economic backdrop combined with political stability provided a decent foundation for the housing market. The bulk of the big listed housebuilders saw their share prices go on to set record highs in early February, so traders were clearly bullish on the industry.

When the Covid-19 crisis took hold in the UK, there was a broad-based sell-off, so homebuilders took a hammering along with everyone else. The situation became even bleaker when banks such as Barclays and Halifax pulled a large portion of their mortgage products, a decision they have since then reversed. Rightmove, the property portal, said there was huge drop-off in the number of people offering to sell their properties. When the lockdown was introduced, government guidelines were for people not to move property, unless they had already exchanged contracts, but the guidelines have since been relaxed. Construction sites largely ground to a halt too. The industry was effectively frozen.

In reaction to the pandemic, the Bank of England cut interest rates to 0.1% – a fresh record low – but keep in mind in January they were only 0.75%, so they didn’t have that far to fall. Some would argue the recent rate cuts aren’t going to make much of a difference to the economy, as a slightly lower borrowing rate is unlikely to encourage people to take out a big mortgage, for instance. At the same time, cheap mortgage rates are no bad thing as far as the property market is concerned. A report from last month found that even though some mortgage rates have fallen because of the BoE rate cuts, others have actually risen. The FCA have called on mortgage providers to treat their customers fairly and pass on the rate cuts.

The UK construction PMI report for April crashed to 8.2, a record low. Keep in mind that 52.6 was registered in February – which was the strongest report since late 2018. The UK construction output for February was -1.7%, which was a fall from the -0.2% posted in January. If the output was falling off in February, the March reading will probably be even worse again.

There has been a lot of speculation about what will happen to house prices in the months ahead. The general consensus is they will fall, but industry professionals remain divided over how far they will slide, and what sort of a recovery will be witnessed. The house price reports have been mixed recently. The Halifax report for April showed that prices were down 0.6% on the month. The Rightmove update showed a 0.2% decline in April, while the Nationwide reading showed 0.7% growth in April. Mortgage approvals tumbled from 74,000 in February – the highest since March 2016 – to 56,000 in March, the lowest level in seven years. The mortgage data would suggest there was a huge fall in demand, but that could be a function of some banks cutting back on the number of mortgages being offered. Seeing as unemployment is tipped to jump, it is fair to say that property demand is likely to wane in the near-term.

For all the doom and gloom doing the rounds, there has been some positive news stories. Vistry, formerly Bovis Homes, was the first of the big housebuilders to return to work as operations resumed last week. Taylor Wimpey and Persimmon also recommenced work in the same period. Bellway began phased work on Monday. Barratt Developments will start preparations for new working guidelines next week, while Redrow will start preparing sites for the new working conditions too, with the view to reopening approximately 50% of sites in the near-term. Barratt, Bellway and Redrow were the only firms of the bunch to confirm that customer interest has been mediocre since the health emergency struck.

The firms will be adhering to strict social distancing guidelines, and they will be predominantly focusing on projects that are near completion. The level of activity that will be undertaken in the next few months is likely to be tiny in comparison to the pre-pandemic levels, but any progress should be welcomed. These days if you are taking any steps back toward normality, that sets you apart from the crowd.

On a year-to-date-basis, Berkeley Group are the best performer as the stock is down only 16%. Vistry are the worst performer as the stock is down 42%, but keep in mind it rallied over 60% in 2019, when it was still known as Bovis Homes. The group changed its name to Vistry in January just after it completed the takeover of Linden Homes, the housebuilding arm of Galliford Try. It is possible that Vistry’s underperformance was driven by the fact it finalised a £1.1 billion takeover deal, shortly before the health crisis struck.

The industry was very strong in advance of the health emergency, and some people would say it was overstretched. On average, the big six homebuilders saw their share price fall by 28% YTD, while the FTSE 100 and the FTSE 250 are down 22% and 27% respectively. The sector is only starting to emerge from the lockdown. It is encouraging to see that activity has restarted, but the real test will be whether client demand bounces back or not. Some industries are likely to remain in the doldrums in the near term, so the housebuilding sector is moving in the right direction, which is likely to pop up on traders’ radars.


Source: CMC Markets

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Shropshire Council to build 1,000 homes over five years under new plans

Shropshire Council has announced plans to to build 1,000 new houses, including 400 council homes, over the next five years.

Following decisions made at a full council meeting in February, the authority’s housing company, Cornovii Developments Limited, will have access to a rolling loan facility of £35 million, on top of a £14m loan previously agreed.

The project will run until 2025.

The council also agreed in principle for the Housing Revenue Account (HRA), which holds the authority’s 4,100 council homes and is managed by Shropshire Towns and Rural Housing (STaR Housing), to borrow £10m per year over the next five years. This, together with HRA reserves and potential grant funding, amounts to a £75m investment in new housing.

Both companies will provide a mix of housing tenures to help address an unmet housing need in Shropshire. This will include ‘affordable’ rent, low-cost home ownership, private rented, and open market sales.

Key workers
Development will include homes specifically built for key workers, veterans, older people, those with learning and physical disabilities, and those struggling to afford or buy on the open market.

Shropshire Council said it is focused on integrating health, education, employment, transport, shopping, leisure and amenity needs into any new development.

The authority added that the new homes across the county will help support the local economy, create new jobs and apprenticeships, and generate additional value to reinvest into council services.

Robert Macey, cabinet member for housing and strategic planning, said: “A great deal of work has gone into identifying the unmet housing need in Shropshire.

“This unprecedented level of local investment presents us with a unique opportunity to build the quality, reasonably-priced homes that people and their families need, whilst at the same time helping to address many of the other housing challenges facing our county.”

Mark Barrow, executive director of place, said: “This announcement demonstrates our determination to build the homes Shropshire needs.

“Last year, affordable housing accounted for just 14 per cent of overall new builds in the county. Our plans commit the council to delivering 40 per cent affordable housing across the portfolio of our new housing and business plans.”

By Rory Smith

Source: Shropshire Star

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£215m Edinburgh build-to-rent scheme to create 476 new homes

Apache Capital Partners and Harrison Street, an alternative real asset investment firm, are to fund a landmark build-to-rent development in central Edinburgh that will be delivered and operated for the long term by Moda Living.

The £215 million scheme, known as Springside, will include 476 new homes alongside 48 existing full-leased studio and one two-bedroom apartments. It will also include shops and leisure space.

Apache Capital and Moda Living purchased the Springside site, which included the 48 existing homes, in March 2017 from Grosvenor Great Britain and Ireland.

Grosvenor, which is one of the UK’s oldest property companies, was said to have specifically chosen Apache and Moda for the two firms’ BTR expertise.

The Fountainbridge site will offer access to entertainment, shopping, public transportation as well as proximity to some of the city’s largest employers including Pricewaterhouse- Coopers, Ernst & Young and BlackRock.

It will also have communal lounges, health and wellbeing facilities plus roof terraces and a private dining room with unique views of Edinburgh Castle, as well as managed communal gardens. The site will be centred around new landscaped public squares, with claims it will create an “urban village” with a year-long calendar of events and activities for residents and the wider public.

John Dunkerley, chief executive and co-founder of Apache said: ”We are committed to delivering and expanding our build-to-rent pipeline with both Harrison Street and Moda Living despite the near-term disruption being caused by Covid-19.”

He said “there remains a fundamental mismatch between supply and demand for high quality purpose-built rental housing in the UK and for investors seeking long-term, steady income streams from assets with defensive, counter-cyclical qualities, build-to-rent remains highly attractive as a sector”.

By Brian Donnelly

Source: Herald Scotland