Golf’s financial woes provide housing development opportunities

by: Dave Pinnington, head of distribution, Finance 4 Business
  • 04/04/2017
  • 0
Golf venues selling land for housing has become a major trend in recent years as the UK’s housing shortage and golf’s financial shortcomings have provided a mutually beneficial solution, writes Dave Pinnington.

In some instances, this is simply due to there being too many courses within a certain geographical catchment area. Either way, it is providing new opportunities for both large and small housing developers and easing certain pressures on local councils.

As a master broker in specialist finance, we have facilitated countless development transactions and have noticed the growing trend for developments on golf courses. We are currently involved in assisting a developer in such a transaction, building three high-end executive homes on a golf course in an affluent part of the country.

The development of the properties has a build cost of £2.1m with a Gross Development Value of £5.6m. It’s easy to see the appeal to developers, and without access to this land, such projects would not be achievable. It also underlines the advantages clients now have being able to access cheap development finance and the increasing number of lenders active in this market.

Brownfield site opportunities


More recently, we now have brownfield sites (The Housing and Planning Act 2016 had a significant impact on brownfield sites which becomes mandatory this month) so it is a good time to look at the opportunities it presents.

These sites were previously underused or simply inaccessible. Brownfield sites consist of varying types of land but developers will be keen to look at land in built-up areas, such as private residential gardens, parks, recreation grounds and allotments, which were previously ringfenced.

‘Opportunity and optimism’


The recent measure, taken by the Housing and Planning Minister Gavin Barwell, means local councils now have an obligation to make the registers of brownfield sites available to the public. A number of councils are part of this pilot programme, which is designed to help quickly identify sites that are suitable for home building and speed up the construction of new homes. There are a number of developers already searching through the newly available sites being published, planning their next project and evaluating the financials.

The combination of the availability of new land, competitive finance and the increasing number of specialist lenders, presents many opportunities for not only developers but to all that operate within the specialist finance sector. There is still a substantial shortage of properties being built – with an estimated 200,000 new builds needed each year, it is a time of opportunity and optimism, for now at least.

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