A real estate specialist and a banking giant have joined forces to invest £1 billion over the next 3-5 years in UK social housing in what are known as Intermediate Rent-to-Buy homes.
The £1 billion investment from AHTO and City UK – part of American multinational bank Citigroup - will be used to purchase approximately 4,000 units in London and regional cities and towns across the UK
AHTO (Affordable Homes to Own) are funded with Tier 1 investment bank senior debt and permanent equity from an institutional family office. It’s described as a privately owned business with a social purpose-driven by outcomes that benefit local communities.
The homes will be acquired from shared ownership or private sale housebuilders in cities and towns across the UK, with AHTO then leasing the acquired properties to a partner, with customers able to buy their home at a discount to open-market-value at the end of their tenure.
Fully funded and supported by a network of investors, AHTO was established in 2020, with a head office in London.
With Citi UK acting as a structuring adviser and financing arranger to institutional capital, AHTO will purchase (at a discount to open-market-value) newly-built affordable homes (also known as Section 106 homes) or private sale homes from either housing associations or UK housebuilders
AHTO says it will focus on investing up to £150 million per project in order to secure residential developments of up to 500 homes, including apartments and houses, in cities and commuter towns such as London, Leeds, Bristol, Manchester, Reading, Dartford and Woking
AHTO’s key advisers have been Clarke Willmott, Knight Frank and Colliers.
What is Intermediate Rent-to-Buy?
AHTO provide an affordable Intermediate Rent-to-Buy (IRTB) product that supports government and local councils’ efforts to help thousands more people onto the housing ladder. The product enables customers to transition ‘to full homeownership at a demonstrably lower cost than shared ownership’, and is a product ‘that is compliant with the National Planning Policy Framework’.
The model is still very niche, although some 1,500 homes have already been delivered via a Rent-to-Buy structure in England and Wales.
More than thirty English councils have already approved the IRTB approach, with approximately another forty councils favourable towards the approach
Within Greater London, nine of the 32 London boroughs are favourable towards Intermediate Rent-to-Buy housing provision, ATHO says.
“The only viable solution to the UK’s affordable housing crisis, without grant funding or subsidies, is to channel institutional investment into the market,” Sam Senchal, chief investment officer of AHTO, commented.
“The Intermediate Rent-to-Buy model brings together our partners and institutional investors to deliver more affordable homes for families with less complexity and cost compared with current affordable home models. At AHTO we are passionate about helping provide high quality homes for people on lower incomes and supporting our Housing Association partners to help customers become homeowners.”