A multi-award-winning housing association is set to build 1,250 new homes, upgrade thousands more, and extend the support it offers to communities after a £1/4bn funding boost.
County Durham-based believe housing has secured the multi-million-pound injection to help it transform homes and communities stretching from the coast to upper Weardale. The not-for-profit housing association will double its new home construction programme and spend more than £6m extra on improving the energy efficiency of existing homes.
Extra money will also be pumped into believe housing’s successful community investment programme, which provided more than £150,000 to charities and groups during the last year.
The new funding has been secured from a number of private sector sources, including an £85m ‘private placement’ from Legal & General Investment Management.
Chief Executive of believe housing, Bill Fullen, said: “This is one of the largest investments in housing that the region has seen. Demand for truly affordable housing has probably never been higher and this investment will help us to go further than ever before to meet that demand.
“It will help us to deliver lots of improvements in the bricks and mortar of the communities we serve. But it will go much further than that.
“This funding will guarantee that our vision of a life without barriers can be brought to more people right across the region. Being an award-winning housing association is about helping people into work, providing high-quality advice and supporting the voluntary groups that make a difference in our communities.”
The latest investments come on top of believe housing’s existing expenditure on maintaining and improving homes and neighbourhoods; more than £30m a year.
The 1,250 home new-build programme alone is expected to support more than 3,800 jobs and 40 apprenticeships during construction. It will also generate in excess of £2m of spending on leisure and education in the county.
Chair of the believe housing board, Judith Common, added: “It’s just two years ago that we created believe housing. In that short time, we’ve already started to change what people think is possible and transform perceptions of affordable housing in the north east.
“The pace of change has been phenomenal and securing this investment will mean we can go still further. Increasing what we can do, during the aftermath of a global pandemic, is a real achievement.
“I’m genuinely excited by what this the extra funding means for families and communities right across the area. Whether you’re already living in one of our homes, or looking for an affordable place to live, this is great news.”
Steve Bolton, Head of Private Corporate Debt, Europe, at Legal & General Investment Management said: “This is an important transaction for LGIM Real Assets, believe housing, and the housing association sector more broadly. We’re delighted to place decarbonisation firmly at the centre of the investment, rather than something that’s talked about on the side-lines.
“Legal & General is uniquely placed to invest annuity money into the UK economy, supporting its long-term pension commitments and creating real assets which provide jobs, housing, and spur economic activity. The fundamental need for good quality, affordable homes has not changed. We are delighted to bolster our commitment to the social housing sector, and investment in the North East. believe marks yet another milestone for Legal & General’s backing for the North East, having recently committed £100 million and £350 million to landmark regeneration projects in Sunderland and Newcastle respectively.”
Sohail Singal, Associate Director at Chatham Financial, which supported believe housing through the refinancing and acted as Sole Placement Agent in this transaction, said: “We are delighted to have led this transaction and supported believe housing on this groundbreaking private placement. The strong demand from investors during the bidding process is a testament to the strong leadership at believe housing and its unique credit story, which allowed believe housing to take advantage of very attractive pricing. Furthermore, the notes that are sustainability-linked, will support believe housing in their desire to grow and deliver a positive environmental social and corporate governance impact and change people’s lives.”