Housing Partnership UK meet at Incommunities
The latest Housing Partnership UK meeting was held at Incommunities in Bradford last week. Our Speakers included Chris Walker from Policy Exchange and Adrian Bell from Cannacord Genuity. The members at the meeting expressed the view that this was one of our best meetings so far. A brief outline of the speakers presentations appear below. Our next meeting is at the Orbit Group in Coventry on Wednesday 8th June.
Chris is working on a report commissioned by five Housing Associations looking at a New Settlement between Government and Housing Associations. The report focuses on a new offer to Government from the sector. Chris highlighted the project questions and the aim to propose a vision of the future for the sector. He invited questions and comments on the presentation and the study. Many of those comments went to the heart of the role and purpose of housing associations and their relationship with Government. The report should be available in the Spring.
Adrian introduced his presentation in which he highlighted the situation in the current borrowing market. He explained how the markets were moving away from Housing Associations. Although Associations were an excellent credit risk the margins available were poor relative to utilities and universities and he suggested that this was not sustainable. His presentation focused on the current barriers to cost effective funding and potential solutions. In terms of a potential solution Adrian provided the example of how local authorities had joined together to create a large scale group borrowing vehicle. This gave them access to more attractive margins from a wider group of lenders as a result of the larger scale of fund raising involved. The attractions included reduced transaction cost, lower administration cost and easier access to higher quality lending. Furthermore property security was not requires thus simplifying the process. Discussion focused on the potential for Housing Associations to form a similar vehicle.