Monthly Archives: December 2014

Mill Group success from crowdfunding PRS

The UK’s first crowdfunded PRS investment project has received overwhelming interest from investors, securing more than £2 million in less than two weeks.

Mill Group, which announced it will create a Reit to invest in private rented housing, says it has raised £2.1 million in just 12 days, exceeding its initial target for fundraising. Working with crowdfunding platform SyndicateRoom, it has attracted the funds from 49 private investors.

A further tranche of £0.5 million will be made available via the platform, recognising the strong demand. In addition, Mill Group will be tapping IFAs and institutional investors for share sales ahead of the group’s listing.

“We have been very pleased with the level of interest in our buy-to let REIT – the first time that people have been offered an easy way to invest in this popular asset class via a share that will shortly be listed on a UK stock exchange,” said David Toplas, chief executive of Mill Group Residential.

“At last people can invest in a buy-to-let investment that is suitable to put into your SIPP or ISA – but people will have to be quick to get into the IPO as it will be closing soon as we want to complete the listing process by Christmas.”

“Most people appreciate that residential investments have performed well, but have heard horror stories about tenants not paying, or worse, not looking after the property, and are very pleased to hear of a hassle free buy-to-let alternative to invest in a spread portfolio run by professionals.”

The fundraising was deliberately set up to encourage the smaller investor, with a minimum £1,000 commitment, but such is the level of interest that typical investments have averaged more than £15,000.

More about Mill Group’s plans to invest directly in private rented properties around the UK here.

Essential Living gets £52m support to deliver PRS projects

Private rented sector developer Essential Living has received the first payment from the second phase of the government’s Build to Rent fund. The company will get a £52 million loan via Royal Bank of Scotland and the Homes & Communities Agency to fund projects in Maidenhead, Archway and Bethnal Green.

The three year loan will enable the developments to proceed, getting the first apartments complete for renting in early 2016.
Essential Living has set out to convert office buildings or develop new properties, designed from the outset for rental. It has already received £150 million of backing from investor M3 Capital Partners to start its development programme.


Reclad and resused - Archway Tower to be reborn as apartments

Reclad and resused – Archway Tower to be reborn as apartments

The company has received permission for the conversion of its Archway office tower to flats. But in Swiss Cottage, its bid to build a new residential tower has hit a problem, with its planning application turned down after local people objected to the bulk of the proposed development.

Essential Living plans a new, 24 storey residential tower in Swiss Cottage

Essential Living plans a new, 24 storey residential tower in Swiss Cottage

“This funding will help us spread our existing equity even further, enabling us to develop our pipeline of 5,000 homes for long term rent quicker,” said Essential Living’s Daryl Flay.

“There’s a genuine need for the old-style housing market to be disrupted. Renters deserve certainty, great customer service and above all, the confidence to make a place your home and trust in your landlord. We want people to feel they’re at home the minute they walk in the building and this underpins our focus on creating a new style of living with a host of amenities and shared spaces encouraging community living for today’s renters.”

And Phil Hooper of RBS commented: “We are delighted to be supporting Essential Living with these first three schemes alongside the HCA. We hope that this senior debt support will lay the foundations for delivery of a significant PRS development pipeline.”

Build to Rent was established by the government in 2012, to help accelerate private rented sector development. An initial £700 million was topped up more recently to £1.1 billion. Funds are advanced as a repayable loan, potentially easing the funding of construction in situations where development finance may be harder to find from other sources.

“We’re determined to create a bigger, better private rented sector so I’m pleased that we’re working with Essential Living to deliver newly-built homes specifically for private rent,” said housing minister Brandon Lewis.

“Thanks to a contribution from our Build to Rent fund and RBS, 300 homes will now be built across Bethnal Green, Archway and Maidenhead for new tenants. Essential Living is the latest company to move into this new and growing market for private rented homes and I hope others follow in their footsteps.”