Savills IM acquires stake in UK housing platform, to launch new fund

Savills Investment Management (Savills IM) has acquired a majority share in Simply Affordable Homes from Centrus Financial, a corporate finance advisor to and long-term supporter of the UK Affordable housing sector, which will retain a minority interest.

This follows on from Savills IM’s acquisition of Pitmore, the UK development and build-to-rent (BTR) specialist, and together creates a strong UK residential platform for Savills IM.

The acquisition of Simply Affordable Homes includes a Registered Provider (‘RP’) approved by the Regulator of Social Housing (“RSH”). Remaining with Simply Affordable Homes RP are the co-founders, CEO, Dominic Curtis and the FD, Jonathan Clarke. Both will focus, full time, on the growth of the business.

Simply Affordable Homes RP has an experienced and well-respected board which consists of Chairman, Keith Exford CBE who has over 40 years of housing and property experience including until 2018 as CEO of the largest housing association in Europe, Clarion Housing. Ann Santry CBE has 38 years’ experience working in the social housing sector of which 18 years were spent as CEO of Sovereign Housing and Jack Stephen was FD of Thames Valley Housing Association for 21 years where he was responsible for establishing Fizzy Living, the PRS specialist.

The first new product following the acquisition will be the launch of Savills IM’s UK Affordable Housing Fund. The fund is intended to have strong sustainability and impact credentials with a primary focus on increasing the supply of Affordable Housing to meet the substantial need which exists across the UK. It will target operating with high environmental standards and is intended to have flexibility to invest in both shared ownership and affordable and social rent.

It seeks to purchase existing stock from Housing Associations, thus allowing them to recycle limited capital and support spending on new home development along with investment in fire safety and decarbonisation. In addition, it will look to create new stock through forward funding and purchasing from both private developers and Housing Associations, both through s106 agreements and using grant funding.

Alex Jeffrey, Chief Executive of Savills IM, commented: ‘People in the UK face serious housing challenges, especially as regards affordability. Institutions can play an important part in helping to bridge this gap whilst providing attractive returns for their beneficiaries. This acquisition and subsequent fund launch will allow investors to gain access to this high-quality asset class and be a means of meeting their own commitments to socially responsible investment.’


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