Events & awards


CIH Annual Housing Awards 23 February, Belfast

Scotland’s Housing Festival 27 – 28 February, Edinburgh

Ecobuild 6 –8 March, London

Housing Technology Conference & Executive Forum 6 –8 March, Oxford

Total Housing 7 –8 March, Brighton

Housing Finance Conference & Exhibition 14 – 15 March, Liverpool

Materials for Architecture 25 – 26 April, London

UK Housing Awards 2 May, London

Driving Business Transformation in Housing 14 – 15 May, London

RESI Awards 16 May, London

CIH South West Regional Conference & Exhibition 16 – 17 May, Bristol

Housing Governance Conference & Exhibition 14 June, London

Housing 2018 26 – 28 June, Manchester

Developers waste £20m a year on unnecessary interest

UK developers are squandering £20m a year on interest they don’t need to pay, new research by Thistle Finance has revealed. Companies often take out development

finance loans for the duration of their builds. However, once the physical asset is finished, many are failing to refinance to lower priced products such as development finance ‘exit loans’, available once the scheme presents less of a risk to lenders. Thistle Finance estimates that £20.4m

is wasted each year across the UK’s entire development portfolio, which according to the BPF totalled £5.4bn of loans in 2016. The difference in interest rate between

a standard development finance loan and an ‘exit loan’ is typically 0.5 per cent a month. Developers on average remain on the wrong finance deal for four months. Around one in 10 developers are also

caught out when their standard development finance loan expires, leaving them on penalty rates of around 1.5 per cent per month more than an exit loan style product during this four month period. Mark Dyason, managing director at

Thistle Finance, explained further: “Developers are wasting millions on interest each year because they are forgetting to refinance off expensive development finance deals once the riskier stages of their schemes are

complete. Worse still, they can sometimes end up on a punitive penalty rate. “When buildings are already standing,

that’s the point at which you can flip onto more competitive ‘exit loans’. Lenders only need to charge higher rates of interest while there’s a chance the scheme won’t be finished. “Depending on the size of the scheme,

the savings available can amount to tens of thousands of pounds, which represents all-important cash flow or capital to be directed towards future projects.”

Commercial property has new development potential

A little-known change in the national planning regulations could mean commercial property has new and highly lucrative development potential, says Sawyer & Co.

On 1 October 2017, a new class of permitted development rights came into place to enable the conversion of light industrial units (Use Class B1c) to residential use (Use Class 3). This form of permitted development

will benefit existing light industrial units generally considered as small-medium sized businesses, which can operate successfully in residential areas without being a detriment to the neighbouring area. Some examples of this type of business include small workshops, repair workshops and similar non-intensive enterprises. The new rights will not however apply to all light industrial buildings, with those located in certain protected areas or with an existing floor space exceeding 500 m2 unlikely to be eligible for residential conversion under Class PA.

Permitted development rights also only apply where no external alterations are required to the building. If external alterations are required to enable the conversions, planning permission will be required for those works. Kevin Ellis, founder of the Land &

New Homes Network, highlighted the opportunities: “The recent legislation change offers owners of these light industry units an opportunity to explore the residential potential of their building, which for many would not have previously been possible.”


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