Octopus holds first close for UK affordable homes fund

Octopus Investments, part of Octopus Group, has held a £50 mln (€58 mln) first close of its Affordable Housing fund set up to accelerate the UK’s much-needed delivery of good quality and genuinely affordable homes.

Commitments came from London CIV, the investment pool for 32 of London’s Local Government Pension Schemes (LGPS). The initial capital will enable more than 500 affordable family and older persons homes to be built in areas across the UK and is the first step towards the fund’s overall target of funding the delivery of 5,000 homes over the next few years.

Octopus has structured the fund so that it provide co-investment opportunities for local authorities, LGPS’ and other locally interested investors. The strategy does not include specialist supported housing, however.

Since the strategy was announced earlier this year, NewArch, Octopus’ embedded registered provider of social housing, has adopted the Sustainability Reporting Standard for Social Housing (SRS), which is a common ESG measurement and reporting framework for the affordable housing sector.

More recently, Octopus published a report looking into the funding challenges faced by the affordable housing sector.

Jack Burnham, head of affordable housing, said: ‘This initial capital raise will enable us to start working with Housing Associations to deliver and manage new affordable homes across the country.’

‘In creating the fund, we have listened carefully to the needs of the affordable housing sector. We know that Housing Associations are increasingly comfortable using alternative finance routes to build and operate more homes, with half of CFOs in the sector now more likely to work with equity partners compared with just 12 months ago. We think that there is potential for these partnerships to have a seismic impact on the delivery of affordable housing across the country.’

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