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Property Investor to Fund New Development of Affordable Homes

The world’s biggest property vendor has established a new company to finance the development of affordable housing in Britain.

U.S. public equity giant Blackstone has founded a new venture to fund the construction of new build establishments 10 months after entering the property sector by purchasing previously developed units.

Sage Partnerships, which complements its registered social housing provider, Sage Housing, will look to private developers, housing associations, local authorities, the government, and other partner landowners to finance the delivery of affordable housing.

Sir Michael Lyons will chair the organisation, which is looking at fairly large scale quantities when it comes to public sector land.

Back in January, Blackstone acquired a stake in Sage Housing, which bids to acquire affordable housing built by private developers as part of their Section 106 planning obligations.

Sage Partnerships will finance schemes that have come to a halt or are lacking the funds to continue.

Sir Michael, who also chairs the English Cities Fund, said that they will be looking for parties who own land and have the ambition to deliver affordable housing but lack the necessary financing or might want to join a more evolved partnership.

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He said that there was no limit on the amount of investment Blackstone could apply to the scheme.

The company, which is headquartered in New York, has worldwide assets valued at £434.1bn.

Sage Housing has pledged to purchase 20,000 homes over a period of four and a half years. It is believed to be well on its way to surpassing this goal. It will concentrate on affordable shared ownership and rented developments but did not specify what the tenure split target would be.

Sage Housing head of business development Craig Horn said that the company is speaking to private developers about converting private programmes into affordable housing that could be delivered without grant funding.

For one scheme, which presently has 25% affordable accommodations, Sage has recommended the funding to deliver all of the homes as affordable.

Mr. Horn added that his organization was talking to bigger landowners about delivering affordable housing within a reasonable time frame. Affordable housing is typically delivered after a number of delays.

He explained that Sage could speed up that delivery by getting involved with the land aspect earlier and producing affordable housing more quickly. It continues to drive the investment even if there is a change in the market. Because Sage has the equity investment to deliver the required housing, it doesn’t rely on the proceeds from private sales, so investment can continue.

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