Investing In SME House Builders

Noel Meredith, Executive Director

According to The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) ‘House Builders’ Survey 2017’, difficulty accessing development finance continues to be one of the key barriers to smaller house builders delivering new homes.

I find this frustrating. Whilst it’s fair to say that the High Street banks have reduced their appetite for development funding for smaller companies, there is a thriving sector of specialist lenders, UTB included, with the skills, funds and appetite to help SME house builders acquire and complete smaller residential and mixed use projects.

Joining the British Business Bank’s ENABLE Guarantee programme means that UTB will be able to provide even more funding for new build and redevelopment projects. The extra capital released by the guarantee will enable us to support the creation of approximately £0.5bn of additional new housing over the lifetime of the guarantee. That’s on top of the development projects we can already finance within usual capital requirements.

Our investment in joining this programme demonstrates our commitment to supporting smaller house builders around the country. However, that extra money won’t find its way to developers on its own, which is why we’ve also invested in recruiting experienced property finance professionals to join the UTB team.

I’m delighted that Paul Turton has joined us as Head of Sales for the Development Finance division. He is a very well-known figure in the industry and his role at NatWest Real Estate Finance brought him into close contact with a variety of clients serving the residential, PRS and student housing sectors.

Paul’s skills and experience will help us to continue to improve our broker sales process and in addition, he and I will be working closely together to further raise the Bank’s profile amongst developers, finance brokers and other associated professionals around the country.

Huw Jenkins has joined us from Bank of Ireland and will be developing UTB’s business and relationships in the North West. Huw has considerable banking and property finance experience gained whilst working in senior positions for major banks and during his successful three years as commercial and finance director of Publico Limited. Huw has spent most of his career in the North of England and is looking forward to introducing UTB’s service to new and established broker and developer contacts around his home turf.

Paul Flannery will be helping UTB to increase its presence and lending to developers in the London area. Paul was most recently a director at Deutsche Pfandbriefbank, managing, amongst other things, complex real estate risk transactions. However, he has also worked in senior corporate banking and property finance roles at Bank of Ireland, Danske Bank and NatWest. As a highly regarded property professional with extensive experience of various transaction types, debt structures and credit risk management he adds further depth and breadth to UTB’s already knowledgeable Development Finance division.

Although uncertainties surrounding Brexit, the economy and the apparent cooling of the UK residential property market have the potential to create challenges for all of us working in the housing sector, we are nonetheless confident that the long-term future for smaller house builders is a positive one. Our ambition is to be the first choice development finance lender for the UK’s SME house builders and we will continue to engage in developing innovative funding solutions and investing in experienced and talented people who can help us to reach that goal.