There are many factors affecting the housing market today. The most talked about is the difficulty for an ever-growing proportion of the population to get on to the housing ladder.
House prices have declined this year, but interest rates have risen sufficiently to negate any potential benefits. At the same time, renting is becoming less affordable.
But there are other, less talked about aspects that also need addressing. Earlier this year, for instance, government statistics showed that the risk of childhood homelessness had increased starkly and that there are now more households in temporary accommodation than has been the case since records began.
There were 41,950 households initially assessed as homeless from January to March 2023, up 10.7% from the same quarter last year – of these, 11,250 were households with children. The same statistical release stated that there were 104,510 households in temporary accommodation by the end of March.
As the biggest supporter of social housing in the UK, Lloyds Bank is committed to improving both the availability and quality of social housing. Our ambition is to support the delivery of as many new social or affordable homes over the next decade as possible.
Our work with Adra, a housing association located in North Wales, is typical of our approach in the social housing space. Earlier this year, we agreed a £40m, five-year sustainability-linked loan with Adra in a bid to build more homes and improve the energy efficiency of its existing portfolio. As part of the deal, the housing association will be able to qualify for discounts if it hits a range of environmental, social and governance (ESG) targets.
Over the next five years, Adra aims to use the funding to ensure 90% of its new-build homes have the highest energy-efficiency rating and retrofit more than 450 properties to improve their efficiency by a minimum of 8%. It is hoped that the funding will also support more than 350 residents into employment through apprenticeships or work placements.
Another ambitious plan is to deliver 10,000 new sustainable homes across South Wales in a decade by the country’s largest social housing provider, Pobl Group, which has been boosted by a £100m sustainability-linked loan from Lloyds Bank.
Development is planned all along the South Wales M4 corridor, from Newport and Monmouthshire in the east to Swansea and Pembrokeshire in the west. The not-for-profit organisation aims for 95% of the new homes it develops over the next four years to have an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of ‘B’ or above, while delivering close to 1,000 homes that meet EPC ‘A’ standards.
Pobl Group is also investing in innovative zero carbon renewable energy sourcing schemes, including the Penderi Energy Project, the largest energy retrofit scheme of its kind in the UK.
The main phase of installations was completed in July, covering 518 out of 644 homes in the Swansea area.
The overall idea at Lloyds Bank is to invest with the purpose of delivering social impact through partnership with selected residential developers and housebuilders to increase the number of homes being delivered and help our clients grow. We do this through our unique investment approach, which shares both risk and reward with our clients.
In terms of scope, we invest right across Great Britain and into multiple housing tenures, including family housing, apartments, build-to-rent, retirement living, student accommodation and more, with the flexibility to support our clients through a variety of deal structures across the development lifecycle.
As the biggest supporter of social housing in the UK, Lloyds Bank is committed to improving both the availability and quality of social housing
Then there is our work with Regeneration Brainery, an award-winning aspirational academy that brings young people from deprived backgrounds into the housing and regeneration sector. Set up in 2017, this not-for-profit organisation works with more than 4,000 young people across the UK every year. So far, Regeneration Brainery has worked in London, Manchester, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Birmingham, Sheffield, Stoke-on-Trent and Stockport – and has plans for further expansion.
The idea is to increase social mobility by boosting diversity in the property and regeneration industry, combatting the lack of effective, hands-on work experience and increasing job awareness and mobility. Regeneration Brainery also hopes to tackle the skills shortage in the industry by giving diverse young people opportunities to kickstart a career that suits their skills and aspirations.
As a further example of our commitment to easing the housing crisis, we have entered a partnership with Crisis, a UK national charity for people experiencing homelessness, because we know that a safe and settled home is the foundation on which people can build a decent life, meet their true potential and help build successful communities.
Lloyds Bank wants to help Crisis achieve its aim to end homelessness for good. Making sure that everyone has a safe and affordable home is not only the right thing to do, it also creates a stronger and more productive society and benefits us all.
So, while we cannot provide a complete solution to the housing market, we are determined to play our role in overcoming the challenges through our own support and by partnering with others to make a difference. That’s in terms of housing delivery, and also in creating a greener and more equitable society.
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About Lloyds Bank
As we move towards a carbon-neutral economy, we’re helping businesses with discounted lending for green purposes and investing in clean growth to improve the energy efficiency of buildings.
Lloyds Bank offers a range of tools, products and services to help businesses achieve their green and net zero ambitions, such as the Green Buildings Tool, the sustainability benchmarking system NextGeneration, and discounted funding through the Clean Growth Financing Initiative.