octopus real estate

Octopus enters affordable housing market

Octopus Real Estate has today (12th May) announced it has entered the UK’s affordable housing arena, after acquiring a registered provider (RP) of social housing.

The specialist lender and investor will work in partnership with housing associations and local authorities to help alleviate the pressures of the affordable housing sector by providing long-term, patient capital to fund the delivery and longstanding ownership of new, affordable homes.

The acquisition of the RP means that Octopus is subject to regulatory oversight and enables the company to draw on grant funding to support the creation of new homes.

The business will operate a direct-let model, rather than lease-based, to ensure a fair sharing of risk with its partners.

“We are launching an affordable housing strategy now because the current cost of living crisis is rapidly increasing the already urgent need for quality, genuinely affordable homes,” said Benjamin Davis, CEO at Octopus Real Estate (pictured above). 

“The costs of decarbonisation, as well as the ongoing impact of post-Grenfell regulations, are restricting the amount of new developments many housing associations can undertake at a time when delivery needs to increase significantly. 

“We believe we can help solve these challenges together, as long-term partners.

“What’s more, rising energy costs are exacerbating fuel poverty for affordable housing residents across the country. 

“We intend to tackle this head-on with the support and expertise of Octopus Energy, the energy generation and supply business within Octopus Group. 

“In doing so, we’ll be able to fund the development of more energy-efficient homes, and work alongside housing association partners to improve the energy performance of existing homes, reducing residents’ fuel bills.”

The company has appointed Elizabeth Austerberry as chair of its RP. 

She joins following her retirement as CEO at housing association Moat, which she has led since 2013. 

Before that, Elizabeth held senior roles at EY, Bank of Scotland, BNP Paribas, and Savills, as well as the National Housing Federation.

“Housing associations and local authorities need trusted partners with long-term capital to help them keep delivering new homes while they address net zero and building safety costs on their existing portfolios,” Elizabeth commented.

“As a B Corp with strong ESG credentials and a track record of purpose-led, responsible investing, Octopus is the perfect partner.

“In my discussions with the Octopus team, I was struck by their commitment to addressing the concerns of both providers and residents of affordable housing. 

“Their deep experience as investors and landlords of care homes and retirement villages gave me great confidence in their ability to support this sector. 

“Together, we have ambitious plans, and I’m excited for what we’ll achieve in the years ahead.”

In January, Octopus secured £450m of funding to lend in the UK commercial property market and, in 2021, partnered with Homes England to launch a £175m Greener Homes Alliance.

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