This morning, Hightown had the pleasure of ‘opening the market’ at the London Stock Exchange (LSE) to mark the recent issuance of a second £38 million Retail Charity Bond.
Hightown was among the first housing associations to use the Retail Charity Bond plc’s platform when it raised £27m through a Retail Charity Bond back in April 2015. We followed this in October with a £38 million issuance (including £6.5 million of retained bond).
With recent research from Savills revealing that almost 100,00 new households a year require housing support as they cannot afford to rent or buy on the open market, the need for more high-quality affordable housing across the UK is clear.
Whilst housing associations are working hard to meet this need and build much needed affordable homes, finding adequate funding always remains a key challenge, encouraging the search for innovative new funding routes to help us fulfil our goals.
The Retail Bond funding route presents a unique opportunity for ethically-minded investors to contribute to the delivery of much-needed affordable homes. Hightown’s second bond issue raised £31.5m with £6.5m of retained bonds in October and closed early due to high demand. I have no doubt that retail charity bonds will continue to be an attractive option for unsecured loan finance for housing associations.
For Hightown, this funding boost has proved invaluable. As a social landlord, we now manage almost 6,000 homes across Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Bedfordshire, but we know many more homes for social and affordable rent are desperately needed across the south east’s inflated property market.
Over the last eight years, we have built 2,733 new affordable homes and intend to build a further 2,000 in the next five years. 2017/18 is proving to be a bumper year for us, with 550 affordable homes delivered since April and a further 140 to be handed over in the next three months.
The success of the latest Retail Charity Bond will help to support our development plans and allow us to continue to deliver much-needed affordable homes.
We are most grateful particularly to the people and organisations who have invested in Hightown through this Retail Charity Bond but also to Allia, Peel Hunt, JCRA, Winckworths and others who helped us to put the offer together.