Stars from the residential sector old and new descended on London’s Grosvenor House last week for the RESI Awards 2018, hosted by comedian Russell Kane. Here we reveal who the winners were and why they were chosen.
Grainger, the UK’s first FTSE 250-listed PRS company, cut costs by 14% and secured 10 PRS deals worth £262m in 2017, having undertaken extensive in-house research to identify the cities best positioned for PRS investment.
By taking a customer-first approach, Grainger achieved 97% occupancy levels across its portfolio in 2017, with residents staying for 27 months on average – an increase from 18 months in 2016. It also achieved a 40% increase in adjusted earnings, an 8% increase in rental income and a 7.3% return for shareholders.
The Argo Apartments development in London exemplifies Grainger’s 2017 success: half the 134 units were let within four weeks of opening at 3% above estimated rental value and the landlord expects to achieve a 7.5% gross yield. The judges were blown away by the company’s strong financial performance and the range of assets it manages.
Sponsored by: Yardi Systems
Strong client focus, global coverage and extensive market knowledge enabled Savills to advise on three times as many strategic land plots as its competitors; deliver planning permission for around 16,000 homes nationwide; advise on £15bn of multi-tenancy investment in the past three years; and execute more UK BTR forward-funding deals than any other agent in 2017.
Savills also incorporated new technologies, partnered with charity and government initiatives and delivered more than 600 presentations and research reports to clients over the year. The judges said Savills “demonstrated a breadth of service and strong client relationships” and had supported “diversity and the growth of rising stars” within the business.
Sponsored by: Sigma Capital Group
Winner: Legal & General Capital – Renaissance Villages
In a major statement of intent, L&G acquired retirement housing business Renaissance Villages from Helical last year for £97m, against a book value of £118m.
L&G expects the deal, which increased the size of its later-living portfolio more than threefold, to generate an IRR of around 15%. The deal also means L&G is now well positioned to help alleviate the retirement housing shortage. By 2022, L&G hopes to have around 24 schemes comprising around 4,000 units, with a total GDV of about £2bn. The judges highlighted the long-term potential of this “significant deal” and L&G’s clear plan for growth and said it was “notable to see institutional investment in the later living market”.
Highly commended: CBRE – R&F London portfolio
In 2017, CBRE advised leading Chinese developer R&F Properties on its transition from the domestic to the international market. With the £679m acquisition of three residential-led schemes in Croydon, Vauxhall and Nine Elms, CBRE created an enviable portfolio that will deliver significant new homes in key regeneration areas.
Overcoming tight capital controls while offering a holistic range of services, Richard Zhang and CBRE’s China team introduced a significant new player to the UK market.
Highly commended: JLL – Project (year of the) Rooster
JLL facilitated three sales to Chinese developer R&F Properties on behalf of three separate vendors in Nine Elms and Croydon. The combined deals equate to a £685m investment in land acquisitions in 2017 alone, with more than £4bn now invested in London overall. Nine Elms Square was the largest London residential land deal in a decade. Against a backdrop of political and economic uncertainty, JLL and its partners helped pave the way for R&F to enter the London market.
Sponsored by: RPS Consultancy Services
Joint winner: Flanagan Lawrence & Quintain – Alto Development London
The Alto development at Wembley Park comprises 362 apartments across four blocks, ranging from nine to 19 storeys. Set within Wembley Park, the development is inspired by, and in tune with, the adjacent stadium’s iconic and cutting-edge design. The development includes a 3,230 sq ft community centre called ‘The Yellow’ as part of a wider placemaking initiative.
The judges were full of praise for this key regeneration project. They described it as an ”outstanding development” and a “market-leading project” that set the “new BTR standard”.
Joint winner: Network Homes – Kilburn Quarter
Network Homes has invested more than £63m in transforming several blighted tower blocks – featured in Zadie Smith’s novel NW – into an aspirational environment. Kilburn Quarter comprises 103 homes for social rent and 126 for private sale. Spanning one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom properties, they meet the need for larger homes in a borough in which 30% of residents live in overcrowded accommodation.
Residents of all tenures can get to know their neighbours in a range of communal areas including landscaped gardens, a children’s play area and a gated courtyard with secure access. The judges praised the ambition and the transformational scale of the scheme.
Highly commended: Acorn Property Group – Brandon Yard (with Galliard Homes)
This exclusive development, in partnership with award-winning architect AWW, delivers the highest standard of modern living spaces while encapsulating the industrial history of Bristol’s waterfront.
The project will regenerate two derelict, grade II-listed buildings and add a new building of similar design. In total, 22 of the 58 apartments have been reserved off plan since the scheme’s launch in June 2017, equivalent to 42% of the development’s total GDV.
Sponsored by: Knight Frank
Winner: Homes England
Because part of Homes England’s purpose is to lend when others will not, all its deals are by their nature complicated. A good example is Priors Hall Park in Corby, where the existing developer had failed and the former senior lenders had appointed administrators.
Homes England sought a new owner and Urban&Civic made a successful bid for the scheme in mid-2017. It concluded the purchase with the assistance of a £46.2m loan in October, which was structured, approved and documented within 36 days of U&C becoming preferred bidder. As a result, the 965-acre site is set to deliver 3,656 homes. The judges praised the “breadth and scale of financing” Homes England has provided to developers large and small.
Sponsored by: Savills
INTERNATIONAL SALES AGENCY
While concentrating on high-volume sales, JLL also managed to expand activity in higher-value property sales via strategic marketing to high-net-worth individuals in Asian and MENA markets, resulting in more than £250m of prime central London sales in 2017. Key projects included Landmark Pinnacle – one of London’s tallest residential towers – and Good Luck Hope.
The judges said JLL was the ”clear winner” and praised its continued growth and expansion into new markets, following the opening of new offices in China as well as other overseas locations.
Presented by: Coutts
In its submission, JLL boasted of its “focus on the unconventional”. The strategy clearly paid off in spades. In 2017, the firm’s residential capital markets team traded over £1.1bn of residential investment transactions across a number of revenue streams including land, affordable housing, trading investments, retirement living, HMOs and the funding ofPRS assets.
As a residential incubator, it provided both private and public sector operators with the tools to make prudent investments and minimise downside risk. Standout deals included acting for Aviva Investors on the circa £100m sale of the UK-wide Rental Homes Portfolio. The judges said JLL’s “strong submission reflected its market dominance”.
Sponsored by: M&G
LANDLORD – PRIVATELY OWNED
Winner: Get Living
Get Living remained the BTR sector leader scale-wise, after growing its portfolio beyond East Village in London to more than 6,000 UK homes and almost doubling net profit. It also led on the innovation front, scrapping security deposits and agency fees and introducing longer-term tenancies.
Growing from one to multiple neighbourhoods posed a major challenge, so it introduced a new £1m management information system. It also implemented 24/7 public realm management and partnered with Ofcom and Hyperoptic to showcase the UK’s fastest 10Gbps home broadband capability. The judges praised it for being a “disruptor” that showed “innovation and impressive growth”.
Highly commended: Sigma Capital Group Simple Life Brand
Launched in December 2016, Simple Life caters for middle-income families seeking high-quality, newly built, professionally managed, long-term rental homes. Developing this largely neglected, undersupplied part of the rental market catapulted Simple Life to the forefront of family-orientated PRS housing in England in just a year, by guaranteeing families proximity to good schools, amenities and transport with no risk of eviction due to properties being sold. Sigma’s launch of The PRS REIT assures Simple Life a pipeline of 5,000 rental homes.
Sponsored by: FirstPort
LANDLORD – REGISTERED SOCIAL
Winner: Dolphin Living
Dolphin’s recent growth has been driven by the implementation of a means-tested ‘personalised rent policy’, which resulted in an 11% rise in income in its first year. Dolphin’s concerted effort to transform tenant-landlord relations through positive, collaborative engagement yielded an 89% customer satisfaction rating.
Dolphin has also partnered with Westminster City Council to establish a home ownership accelerator programme, WHOA, giving qualifying renters a three-year tenancy at 65% of market rents while their deposits accrue.
The judges described Dolphin as “very brave, impressive, pioneering and innovative”.
Sponsored by: Hyperoptic
Winner: Telford Homes
In 2016, Telford Homes launched its Building a Living Legacy strategy to benchmark sustainability progress, which led to it being recognised as the most improved homebuilder in the 2017 NextGeneration sustainable housing benchmark report.
One of the most exciting developments demonstrating its approach is the mixed-use New Bermondsey development, which will provide homes for around 6,000 residents.
Telford reported a record revenue of £291.9m revenue last year, up 19% on 2016. The judges praised the flexibility of the company and its focus on quality of delivery.
Highly commended: Hill
Last year, Hill completed its 1,000th private
sale and started building 3,000 new homes. Its turnover rose 21% to £367m, delivering a 10% net margin, while the group’s net worth broke the £100m barrier in the first month of 2017. Hill’s net cash position stands at £17m, with a £200m loan facility to fund its future work, which will deliver 3,200 homes.
Sponsored by: CBRE
Winner: Knight Frank
New instructions Knight Frank won in 2017 included the letting of Hayden Tower in Nine Elms for Greystar; the letting of the PRS element of Keybridge House for A2 Dominion on the Trinity Village Estate in SE1; and the letting of 100 properties in and around Greenwich Market.
Knight Frank’s team also invested in its fast-growing student business. In 2017, 15% of the team’s deals were with students, up from 12% in 2016. The firm created a dedicated student rentals department and is running a social media campaign aimed at students. The judges praised its “market dominance”, particularly in London, and the strength of the company’s financials.
Sponsored by: The Nido Collection
NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR
CapitalRise is an online property finance marketplace offering carefully selected real estate investment opportunities to investors, paying out returns once developments are completed and the properties refinanced or sold. There are no fees, it is tax free via the CapitalRise ISA and the minimum investment is just £1,000.Proof of concept came in December 2017 when the first deal, in Eaton Square, closed, paying investors £1.14m, ahead of schedule. The judges praised the company’s innovation and the impressive amount of money it had raised.
Sponsored by: Mount Anvil
Winner: Ringley Group
Ringley boasts that it is “the only managing agent to bring forward a ground-breaking BTR model buiding on 20 years’ estate management experience”. This culminated in its 150-page BTR Guide, which was distributed to more than 100 fund managers.
Ringley’s BTR vision is to help create “a new asset class, akin in community to student living, but with the brand consistency of, say, Premier Inn”. Judges praised the “modern approach” and strong growth of the business.
Highly commended: Savills
Savills Residential Management is a 65-strong bespoke property management team that blends the broadest range of capabilities and experience. The business provides property and asset management services, consultancy and advice, as well as ancillary leasehold reform valuation provision for clients including Kennedy Wilson, The Eyre Estate, Scarborough Group and Christchurch College Oxford – all new mandates in 2017.
Presented by: Blackstock PR
PRS DEAL OF THE YEAR
Winner: Sigma Capital Group and Homes England – IPO of The PRS REIT
The PRS REIT – which was last year’s largest property-related initial public offering (IPO) – was also the first REIT to address the PRS and the first to focus on family homes.
Both partners brought vital ingredients to the mix: Sigma had a proven PRS development business, while Homes England offered financial support and clear validation of the proposition.
The net result was a heavily oversubscribed £250m IPO, with Homes England making a cornerstone £25m investment. Eight months later, the REIT raised another £250m from investors. The judges thought the IPO’s complexity and scale made the partners impressive and worthy winners.
Sponsored by: TowerEight
RETIREMENT LIVING OPERATOR
Winner: Audley Group
Audley was an early champion of retirement living and in 2017 continued to develop its business model by introducing a more inclusive approach to the sector. When research revealed that older people in retirement villages were half as likely to require future institutional care than those in other types of housing and experienced an improved quality of life and reduced loneliness, Audley expanded its model, branching out with Mayfield Villages, the UK’s first private, mid-market contemporary retirement housing offering. Audley also started work on Nightingale Place, the developer’s first retirement living project in London. The judges said the company’s entry stood out and praised Audley’s “quality and innovation”.
Sponsored by: Irwin Mitchell
Since its launch in 2011, Manchester-based Glenbrook has delivered schemes worth £230m and let construction contracts to the value of £143m as well as constructing 999 apartments. The company completed the first institutional forward funding of a BTR development outside London in 2014, securing a funding deal with Moorfield Group.
In the wake of the success of their joint project The Keel, Moorfield continued to work with Glenbrook to forward-fund a £50m, 232-apartment scheme in Manchester’s Castlefield, branded The Trilogy. Having overcome complex site assembly issues, the pair are under way with the scheme, which will welcome its first residents this summer. They are also on site with a £60m development in MediaCityUK that is due for completion next summer. The judges praised the success of The Keel and the project’s focus on customer service.
Highly commended: Braidwater
Braidwater prides itself on its 12-week ‘fast build’ programme, creating energy-efficient, low-cost homes using prefabricated, modular construction techniques. In 2017, it finished 255 units, contributing to a turnover of £35m, representing a 600% leap in both turnover and unit sales in just four years.
Braidwater’s ingenuity and commitment to sustainability are demonstrated by the Birch Hill development in Derry, where it overcame a massive drainage challenge. The development’s cutting-edge design included the utilisation of an urban drainage system – the first of its kind in Northern Ireland – to ensure the protection of the natural environment by offsetting surface-water run-off.
Sponsored by: Strutt & Parker
STUDENT ACCOMMODATION OPERATOR
Winner: King’s College London
King’s College London says it is committed to supporting the brightest minds, regardless of background, and providing affordable accommodation. To address the impact of accommodation costs on those experiencing financial hardship, last year the university launched the King’s Affordable Accommodation Scheme to enable up to 700 students to access accommodation priced below £155 per week. The scheme also removed the requirement for a £300 deposit, freeing up a useful amount of cash in the students’ first term. King’s also points to its Life Skills programme, which promotes healthy, budget-conscious cooking skills, in partnership with King’s Nutrition & Dietetics Society, and creates a space where students can discuss life in residences. The judges praised King’s for targeting affordable accommodation in London and providing life skills to tenants.
Highly commended: CRM Students
CRM’s portfolio exceeds 29,000 beds across the UK, all meeting the standards of voluntary accreditation scheme ANUK. CRM has achieved excellent occupancy rates and feedback from residents. Revenue, meanwhile, grew 33% in the year to August 2017. Each CRM site organises regular social events, which the company says greatly enhance the student experience and are provided at an affordable cost. CRM also works hard to meet individual needs, including those of international students wishing to live together, or mature students desiring a quieter location. The company has developed a sophisticated resident management tool to facilitate bookings, payments and communications, allowing students to order additional items such as bedding or kitchen utensils before they arrive.
Sponsored by: Lockton Construction & Real Estate
UK SALES AGENCY
Winner: Knight Frank
In 2017, Knight Frank’s super-prime team held London’s largest market share for sales, with 39% of the £10m-plus market and 43% of the £20m-plus market. It advised developers on 85% of all super-prime schemes, including Chelsea Barracks, Marble Arch Tower and Mount Pleasant. Knight Frank also launched the 11th edition of its Wealth Report, reflecting $1trn of real estate investment by private clients.
Meanwhile, its residential development team grew in six UK cities, it opened a new South Kensington office and it expanded regionally into Cardiff, Birmingham and Weybridge. The judges praised the firm’s visibility across the country and continued growth.
Highly commended: Chestertons
Chestertons’ innovative partnership and restructuring strategies, investment in a new web and data team and development of an internal dashboard to aggregate and evaluate sales trends helped boost fee income by 20%, instructions by 12%, deals by 15% and website traffic by 22.5%. Key deals included: 41-43 Cadogan Square for £12.67m; 13 Tedworth Square for £8.3m; and 34 Victoria Road for £6.7m. Chestertons also implemented a community engagement programme supporting diverse charitable activities and was the only agent to garner a Platinum Payroll Giving Quality Mark.
Sponsored by: Long Harbour
Winner: Helen Gordon, Grainger
Gordon has worked for RBS, Legal & General and Railtrack in a career spanning more than 35 years. She is a board member of the European Public Real Estate Association and junior vice-president of the BPF.
Commenting on her victory, Gordon said: “Those of us involved in the development of new homes in the UK know how important our role is and it is great thatProperty Week allow us to celebrate this important contribution to society and the economy.
“I was thrilled to receive this award, which could not have happened without the hard work and dedication of the team to deliver on our strategy and deliver great homes for rent.”
Sponsored by: NFU Mutual
>> Do you want to be a winner with RESI? There’s still time to enter our new RESI Trailblazers initiatives and be celebrated at RESI Convention 2018? Enter your nominations at resiconf.com