£284m funding deals will drive housing association’s expansion plan

CGI of Chestergate scheme

Manchester-based Great Places Housing Group has secured funding worth £284m through three new deals with Santander, NatWest and ABN Amro.

Funding of £109m and £100m has been agreed with existing lenders Santander and NatWest Bank, respectively. New partner ABN AMRO has lent Great Places £75m. All loans are revolving credit facilities (RCFs).

All three RCFs contain sustainability-linked performance measures which see a reduced interest rate in the event that Great Places meets agreed energy efficiency targets on new and existing homes.

The housing association, which comprises 25,000 homes, said it will use the funds to continue to deliver its commitments to customers to invest in existing and new homes in communities across the North West, Yorkshire and Derbyshire.

Great Places’ current plans include further increasing resources to improve property conditions and customer services, as well as the ambition to develop around 9,000 new affordable homes during the period 2020-2030.

Savills Financial Consultants helped Great Places Housing Group secure the new funding.

Mike Gerrard, Chief Financial Officer at Great Places Housing Group, said: “We received strong interest from the banking sector for this transaction and it is pleasing to move forward with sustainability-linked funding. Thank you to the Great Places team and Savills for their insight and support.”

Mike Roche, Director at Savills Financial Consultants, said: “There were a significant number of moving parts with these deals, so it is a testament to the Great Places team that they have been able to handle the process so diligently. The Savills Financial Consultants team has really enjoyed helping Great Places secure this increased financial capacity at the right pricing to help deliver their aims.”

Jane Johnstone, Senior Director, Housing Finance, Santander UK, said: “This funding will ultimately facilitate improvement in existing housing provision and the continued development of much needed, new, affordable homes. We are proud to work together with providers such as Great Places in this critical sector.”

Martin Skinner, Relationship Director at NatWest, said: “The RCF structure, coupled with sustainability-linked performance measures, will lead to more energy-efficient homes across the North West, Yorkshire and Derbyshire.”

Rutilio Merien, ABN AMRO’s Head of UK Coverage Real Estate, said: “ABN AMRO is pleased to further support the social housing sector and the inclusion of ESG linked KPIs in our facility with Great Places resonates very well with ABN AMRO’s purpose and strategy. We look forward to building a strong and long term relationship with Great Places.”

Alice Overton, Partner at Devonshires, said: “Great Places approached this with dedication and commitment, and the team was a pleasure to work with, alongside Savills, all resulting in a great outcome for the business.”

The transaction was also supported by Addleshaw Goddard and the valuation team at Savills.

Last month the housing association secured planning approval for a 148 affordable home scheme on Chestergate in Stockport.

The £35m development will be Great Places’ second site in Stockport’s regeneration area in addition to its neighbouring King Street West development, which started on site spring 2023.

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