Aspen and Avamore complete unusual refurbishment deals
The six storey property in Moorgate, London comprised of offices which are undergoing refurbishment and a ground floor restaurant.
The client was coming to the end of their existing debt agreement which covered several properties and needed to finance the shortfall, so wanted to use the Moorgate property for a £5m refinance.
The case was introduced by Callum Taylor, director at Watts Commercial, who knew the case that was already in progress would not meet the required timescales. Taylor approached Aspen to make use of its rapid desktop product.
The lender used its remote signing policy and law firm Fieldfisher’s office drop-off to allow the client to sign and provide security documents.
The £620,000 deal was completed on a flat rate of 0.89 per cent with no exit fees on an 18-month term.
Jack Coombs, director at Aspen Bridging, said: “This deal was enabled by our confidence in our professional partners and our asset team, who visited the property themselves.
“Aspen completed as required for the client with minimum hassle and thus avoiding substantial valuation costs.”
Taylor added: “Aspen’s practical approach on valuations and their commercially minded legal team at Fieldfisher were stand out here.”
Avamore allows adjustable leverage for £758k deal
Avamore Capital has funded £758,046 towards a light refurbishment in Maidenhead by providing the loan at an adjusted rate of 69 per cent loan to gross development value (LTGDV).
The borrower wanted to convert a five-bedroom house back to its original form of two three-bedroom properties.
Avamore originally agreed to offer the loan at 65 per cent LTGDV with a rate of 8.5 per cent per annum.
The site was later down valued, but as the lender was familiar with the developers who previously worked at Cala Homes, it decided to provide the loan at the new adjusted leverage.
Although the deal was structured as a light refurbishment which incorporates a build facility, the site was awaiting a Letter of Lawful Development to confirm it had permission to be reconfigured back into its original form.
The site is currently recognised by the council as one property.
While the loan would usually be taken out as a bridge then converted to a refurbishment loan once permissions have been granted, Avamore provided the loan as a refurbishment as it believed the works would be approved.
However, the deal has been structured to reflect a bridge loan in case the permissions are not granted. Avamore worked with brokerage Commercial Financial Specialists on the deal.
Saleem Akram, director of Commercial Financial Specialists, said: “I was impressed with the whole process from start to finish, it was quick and effortless. Avamore were communicative with the client and me.
“There were a couple of issues along the way but Avamore’s proactive attitude ensured that they dealt with and overcame them quickly.”
Adam Butler, relationship manager at Avamore, added: “It was great pleasure to work with Saleem and the borrower on this unique deal.
“It really highlighted our core strength of being customer focused and ensuring that we continue to be adaptive which, in turn, resulted in us getting a strong deal structured.”
Maslow Capital secures £43m development deal
The deal was secured with SevenCapital as part of a project with a £69.9m gross development value (GDV) in Bracknell.
The pair have partnered on three other residential development projects in Birmingham previously and this scheme took the total GDV across all four deals to £173m.
They said the project has been designed to meet the changing needs of Bracknell’s professional tenant base with a rapid population growth expected due to its thriving technology hub.
It will provide 242 residential units and ancillary commercial space separated into two blocks with 26 units being affordable housing.
The former brownfield site will cater to environmental concerns with electric car-charging points and 340 cycle spaces.
Matt Pigram, head of deal origination at Maslow Capital, said the pandemic had materially changed the preferences of tenants across the UK.
“With young professionals re-evaluating their housing needs and a shift towards remote working, we are seeing a new outflow of movement to well-placed commuter belts across the UK,” he said.
James Henry, deal origination at Maslow Capital, added: “This deal is particularly special for us, insofar that it represents the fourth time we have partnered with SevenCapital, which embodies our
business model of forming long-lasting relationships with quality developers that share our core values.”
Damien Siviter, group managing director at SevenCapital said: “This is yet again a fantastic partnership with Maslow Capital who we have worked with on previous occasions to deliver our pioneering Birmingham developments.”
Know Your BDM: Gaynor Morgan, YBS Commercial Mortgages
What locations and how many advisers and broker firms do you cover in your role?
I work with adviser and broker firms all over the country, ranging from those with one adviser, to firms with 12 advisers.
How have you changed the way you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers in the pandemic?
We’re actually known as relationship directors, so the clue is in the title – maintaining good relationships with brokers is key. Like many others there’s more use of video conferencing, which everyone seems to have adapted well to. Understanding that the pandemic brings everyone different challenges has been key to remember, as we are not all working in the conditions that we’re normally accustomed to.
What personal skill is most valuable in doing your job?
Being approachable, open and honest is key for the role that I do. I want people to feel they can approach me with a proposal, and get a direct, straight response on it. That doesn’t always mean I will be able to accommodate their requirements, but I will always be upfront about why.
What personal skill would you most like to improve on?
Personally I’d like to improve my skills when it comes to giving presentations – there is probably still more ‘umms and aahhs’ in my speeches than required.
Where would you rather be stuck, in bumper-to-bumper traffic or back-to-back Zoom calls?
100 per cent back-to-back zoom calls – although I do find sitting in traffic is great for making call backs. Hands free of course.
What’s the best bit of career-related advice you’ve ever been given?
During a discussion about growth and development I was asked how I wanted people to see me. This was something I had to think long and hard about, as I needed to understand whether my actions fitted this perception.
What is the most unique property deal you’ve been involved in?
It may sound cliché but it’s true – all the deals I’m involved in are unique and no two deals are ever the same.
What has been your lockdown coping strategy?
I took advantage of the extra time at home to spend the time with my two-year old, study for my DipFA and lose 20lbs – I’ve found keeping myself occupied has helped.
If you were head of the FCA for the day, what would you change about regulation in the mortgage industry?
This might be a bit controversial, but I would probably bring in some regulation around advisers having qualifications for undertaking non-regulated deals.
What was your motivation for choosing business development as a career?
I’m very much a people person and I love to talk, as I’m sure a number of my colleagues will confirm, but I enjoy the flexibility of going out and meeting various people, as opposed to feeling like a blank face behind a computer and telephone.
If you could do any other job in the property sector, what would it be and why?
Being a valuer might be interesting because I just love nosing around houses.
What did you want to be growing up?
I wanted to be in a crime scene forensic team – I spent far too much time watching CSI.
What’s your favourite face mask design to wear?
To be honest I don’t pay much attention to what it looks like – I’m normally stressing about where my toddler has hidden it.
And finally, what’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?
Honestly, with 16 brothers and sisters, and countless nieces and nephews – I have forgotten what strange looks like.
First 4 Bridging collaborates with Roma Finance for semi-exclusive loan
The product is available for residential and refinance purposes. It is offered up to 75 per cent loan to value (LTV) and rates begin from 0.65 per cent per month. It has a reduced arrangement fee of 1.85 per cent.
The loan has a term of up to 24 months and is available for standard bridging loans between £400,000 and £3m.
Private individuals, limited companies, special purchase vehicles and limited liability partnership borrowers will be eligible for the product. It will only be available through a select group of distribution partners.
Donna Wells (pictured), director at F4B, said: “This product is an excellent addition to Roma’s lending proposition and, as one of a limited number of packagers with access to it, we expect it to be a popular option for new and existing introducers and intermediary partners.”
Nick Jones, commercial director at Roma Finance, added: “We are always looking for new ways to ensure borrowers have options to best fit solutions while supporting partners at the same time.
“We use inclusion as a value for our business and as we see the need for bridging continue to increase, we are identifying areas where we can create extraordinary options.”
Jones said working with F4B was a “natural fit” for the product and added: “Their ability to identify the right product for the right customer is exceptional and we are delighted to have their experience and support as part of this distribution”.
Opportunities abound for brokers to help developers and landlords in high street evolution – Roma
Speaking on Specialist Lending Solutions Television in association with Roma Finance, a panel of industry experts explained there was an increasing trend over the last year for conversions and refurbishments of high street properties.
They believe this trend is likely to continue accelerating as shopping habits and lifestyles change.
Roma Finance commercial director Nick Jones said permitted development rights (PDRs) had given greater opportunity and easier access for more conversions of commercial properties to residential use.
“It’s becoming more and more lucrative for developers to widen their portfolios into commercial and semi-commercial type property,” said Jones.
He noted that by removing some stigmas around conversion work and comparing running costs with those for residential premises, people were embracing that more because of the return on investment.
“We’re seeing a lot more applications for ground up development and heavy refurbishment of commercial into residential, there is still that opportunity,” he added.
Vantage Finance national sales manager Joe Aston said investment into commercial properties needed to be very carefully done, but conversions were increasingly common.
“Conversion of commercial to residential is something we’ve seen as a growing trend for probably the last 18 months, certainly last 12 months – and despite the pandemic that hasn’t slowed down,” he said.
“There are willing developers out there and professional landlords looking to step into the development space.”
Enterprise Finance managing director Harry Landy echoed those sentiments on commercial investment, noting brokers could help clients “by ensuring the properties people are looking at buying are going to be suitable from a lender perspective”.
“They’ve got to have a real viable business case for them.”
But he continued: “There really is a great opportunity there for developers and buy-to-let landlords to broaden their portfolio.
“Where we can help in particular is helping customers navigate their way through that.”
Arc & Co advises on £8.5m loan to redevelop historic site for housing
The deal was introduced and advised by Arc & Co.
Paragon Development Finance led the finance facility with Apollo Capital providing mezzanine debt.
The developer has used the finance to purchase a grade II listed building and surrounding land at 103-105 St Peters Street, St Albans (pictured).
The building at 103 was designed by the architect of St Albans Town Hall, George Smith, and built in 1829. It will be converted into a five-bedroom house of 5,700 sq ft.
The adjacent building at 105 will become two, two-storey homes, one of four bedrooms at 2,549 sq ft and the other three bedrooms over 1,706 sq ft.
The buildings were occupied by an accountancy firm for 30 years until 2014 and have been vacant since then.
The developer will construct 10 new, three-storey mews houses of 1,348 to 1,466 sq ft, on what was previously a car park behind the building.
“We’re excited to restore this beautiful building back to its former glory and to provide new homes. The site has huge potential and is sure to be popular with purchasers who want a desirable location within commuting distance of London,” said Kevin Gregory, managing director at Foxley Group.
“Working with Paragon, Apollo Capital and Arc & Co., made the whole process seamless. They are all supportive organisations that fully understand the property development market and the needs of their customers,” Gregory said.
Adrian Reeves, relationship director at Paragon, added: “This redevelopment will result in spectacular homes in one of the UK’s most desirable places to live and will bring two striking buildings back to life.
“We enjoy a strong relationship with Foxley and are pleased to have been able to support them in this latest development.”
Lee Cory, partner at Apollo Capital, said: “The size and scope of this facility aligns with our appetite for funding new modern developments in key cities that are growing economically.”
Julian King, asset finance adviser, structured finance at Arc & Co., added: “We’re proud to have been pivotal in working with Foxley Group, advising on their corporate debt strategy and arranging bespoke funding solutions in the purchase of this flagship scheme.”
BTL investors diversifying means development finance may be growing source of advice queries – Jannels
It will need more homes and a fundamental hurdle standing in the way remains the shortage of housing stock.
This has been acknowledged and, in recent years, the government has introduced several changes to planning legislation making it easier for developers to deliver more residential property.
In response to these new opportunities, we have seen the arrival of new developers – often experienced buy to let investors who have perhaps successfully executed a couple of refurbishment projects and identified an opportunity to increase their returns.
And this means there’s a good chance you already have active developers within your bank of clients.
Competitive and specialised market
Development finance is a highly specialised area of lending and it is an area in which many of our members at the ASTL are specialists.
The sector may be far removed from the mainstream residential market, but it helps to deliver the properties on which many mainstream mortgages are secured.
This is a competitive lending landscape, driving new product innovations to meet the requirements of a diverse range of circumstances.
ASTL member Bridging Finance Solutions recently completed a development loan to a group of friends and developers, who pooled their resources and experience to build a stunning five-bedroom home in the Wirral.
While another member Roma Finance, delivered the finance required by an experienced developer to create four terraced houses on land with planning permission in a village location.
Many of our members are currently experiencing increased demand from developers wanting to use permitted development rights to convert commercial buildings into apartment blocks, and there are a range of solutions available to meet the specific requirements of different locations, build type and developer experience.
Development finance is more involved than arranging a standard residential mortgage, with funds often released in stages throughout the build.
Lending decisions are more akin to the underwriting of a business loan than a bridge, with decisions based on the developer’s experience and track record, the type of scheme and suitability for its location, and the amount of funding required.
Whereas loan to value (LTV) is a key determinant for how much mortgage lenders are prepared to lend, development lenders will also look at loan to cost (LTC) – how much a lender is prepared to advance as a percentage of the total cost of the works – and loan to gross development value (LTGDV) – the loan as a percentage of the final projected market value of the development.
However, the principles of good lending and good advice remain consistent with the mainstream mortgage market, and this can be a rewarding area of the market for intermediaries.
A good first step is to speak with the BDM of a development finance provider, who will be able to explain the process and considerations in greater depth, or to partner with an intermediary or distribution specialist with expertise in this market.
Specialist criteria search platform Pitch 4 Finance launches to brokers
Pitch 4 Finance matches bridging, property development, commercial term loans and complex buy to let cases with a panel of 200 lenders based on criteria entered into the system.
Lenders then offer terms and pitch for the case.
Brokers can research and apply for products on the platform and will be provided with records of written correspondence and audits.
Pitch 4 Finance claims it will follow up with lenders to get responses on behalf of brokers. Its team will also run cases against products offered by providers not on the panel to give brokers market-wide access.
Brokers will be charged 0.175 per cent of the total loan balance for each case completed through the platform – equating to £175 per £100,000 transaction. This will be taken out of the broker’s proc fee.
Miranda Khadr (pictured), founder of Pitch 4 Finance, said: “Pitch 4 Finance is a technology platform that provides instant criteria matching, one-on-one support for intermediaries, real time application updates, tracking and greater exposure for intermediaries to all lenders in the market.
“We support this technology with proactive administrative support that enables cases to be processed more quickly and effectively and even check with lenders that aren’t hosted on the platform so that brokers can have absolute peace of mind that they are generating the best outcomes for their clients.”
“We look forward to working with as many brokers as possible – whether they are already active in commercial lending and looking for a way to scale their business, or if they are new to this sector and want a helping hand in making the most of the opportunities.”
UTB provides last minute £6.7m loan for 25-home development
The project is being completed by Genesis Homes in a joint venture with Housing Growth Partnership. It consists of a mix of two to five-bedroom houses and bungalows.
Funding from UTB was required at short notice when the original lender withdrew its funding at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, just before Genesis Homes was set to complete the site acquisition.
The developer approached the lender’s property development director Huw Jenkins for the loan.
Nicky Gordon, managing director of Genesis Homes, said: “Having our original funding offer pulled as we were about to complete our purchase of the site was far from ideal. Fortunately, I was aware that UTB was continuing to lend, despite the added complications and uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Huw quickly appraised our proposal, liaised with Housing Growth Partnership and very soon afterwards confirmed that UTB would provide the funding we needed to acquire and develop the land.”
Jenkins added: “Although Genesis Homes is a relatively young company, it’s evident from their success over the last few years that they’re a company with a great reputation and a bright future.
“2020 was a challenging year for most housebuilders and I’m delighted UTB was able to step in at short notice and enable Nicky and the Genesis Homes team to crack on with this excellent new development.”
Shawbrook cuts commercial product rates
The rate changes affected variable rate products for loans of more than £100,000, with the lowest rate now 5.19 per cent.
The biggest cut applied to the semi-commercial offering at 65 per cent loan to value LTV.
The lender’s commercial investment range covers loans of £50,000 to £25m, up to 75 per cent LTV.
The products can be used for complex commercial investments like serviced offices and property multi-lets on licences.
“The commercial investment sector has faced great change and uncertainty over recent months. We remain fully committed to helping brokers maximise the abundance of opportunity that exists,” said Gavin Seaholme, head of sales at Shawbrook Bank.