Accent Group has unveiled new plans for a significantly increased development and growth programme following the pricing of its record-breaking £225m public bond.
Accent owns and manages over 20,500 homes across 68 local authority areas in the North, South and East of England. The new strategy outlines how the association will grow its property portfolio and presence as a land-led developer, working with new and existing partners to develop a much-increased annual programme of at least 500 new homes.
The new development plans are built around the distribution of the association’s existing homes to consolidate its stock base and in areas identified suitable for sustainable growth. The majority of the new homes will be developed through the strategic corridor from East Cambridgeshire through to Milton Keynes. Homes will provide a range of tenures with a mix of affordable rent, social rent, shared ownership and Rent to Buy, depending on the type of housing most needed in the area.
The launch of the new plan comes just weeks after news of Accent’s £225m public bond success which will enable the association to deliver its development agenda. The 30-year bond, priced at a coupon rate of 2.625%, is the lowest ever rate secured by a housing association in England for a bond greater than 12 years in duration.
Accent’s Executive Director of Development & Growth, Sarah Ireland said: “This is a really exciting time for Accent. Our new development and growth strategy has been well considered and planned for over the last year. We are now ready to get out there and make our own contribution to help resolve the crisis caused by the lack of affordable housing that currently exists in so many of the communities in which we work with a significantly more ambitious development and growth programme.
We have recruited an experienced Development and Sales team to fulfil the focus on development activity, bringing together a wealth of sector experience and knowledge.”
Sarah added: “We are currently working to grow the business relationships we need for developing new homes in greater numbers and becoming a land-led developing organisation. We are also increasing our focus on working with private sector partners and other RPs where we can achieve more together. Alongside our development ambitions, our focus will also be on investing in our existing homes and redeveloping where necessary ensuring we always offer our customers great places to live.”
“All new developments will aim to achieve the best possible design and efficiency standards providing high quality, safe, secure and affordable homes for our customers that make a positive contribution to the community in which they are built.”
As part of the Wave 2 funding programme, Homes England has formed a Strategic Partnership with Together Housing, making £53m available to build new affordable homes. The new homes will be delivered through the Partnership including Accent and WDH. The Strategic Partnership will build an additional 1,152 homes across the country over the next four years.
The association will also continue to lead the Accent Group Consortium, a development consortium of (currently) 14 housing associations. As lead partner, Accent manages the consortium and the funding programmes with Homes England. Since its formation in 2006, the consortium has received more than £300m of grant funding for affordable housing. By 2021, the partnership will have delivered over 4,800 homes.