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£1bn property development fund planned for the north

A property boost for the north is coming, as new bank GBB plans to increase the availability of property development finance for regional developers and SME construction companies.

The government has identified that a lack of development finance is a significant barrier for small builders delivering more properties, and GBB’s new offering is expected to go some way towards bridging the gap.

“Small housebuilders are essential to building the homes this country desperately needs but they often can’t access affordable finance,” said Steve Deutsch, GBB’s chief executive officer. “Our ambition is to become an engine of economic growth for regional SME developers by providing bespoke secured finance underpinned by long-term relationships that build trust and generate repeat business.”

GBB believes its offer of secured property development loans of between £1m and £5m, will lead to an increase in demand for finance. With 90% of the lending dedicated to supporting regional property developers and SME construction companies across the Northern Powerhouse regions of the north-east, north-west and Yorkshire, demand is likely to increase.

Over 17,000 new properties

Residential property projects of 10 to 40 houses and commercial properties of between one and 3,000 square metres will be supported by the bank, which estimates that the fund will deliver over 12,400 residential and 5,000 commercial properties.

Deutsch said: “The UK’s undersupply of housing offers a clear market opportunity. We know that 66% of property developers are borrowing now, with 90% intending to borrow in the next three years.”

The property development fund is part of a bigger lending plan of £2.9bn, of which £2.6bn is dedicated to regional property developers and small construction companies. In all, £2bn will be lent across the north, Midlands and Scotland.

Unique finance offering

Chief lending officer for GBB Stephen Henman said: “Our key differentiator is our regional and property development focus combined with a relationship-centred approach, which is unlike anything else on the market.

“This, combined with our specialist underwriting capabilities, local knowledge and market-leading, cloud-based technology, puts clear water between us and other providers.”

He added: “We hope that this will lead to an increase in property development in our target regions.”

GBB is led by an experienced management team which has formally applied to the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) for a licence to trade as a bank and plans to launch in 2021.

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