The great and the good of the housing industry gathered at London’s Grosvenor House hotel last week for the RESI Awards 2017. Hosted by comedian Paul Chowdhry, the evening was a celebration of the very best the residential sector has to offer. We reveal what made the winners stand out from the crowd
RESI Awards Winners 2017
Residential Personality of the Year
David Montague (L&Q)
This man has redefined what a housing association is. At the end of last year, he completed L&Q’s merger with East Thames, pledging to build 100,000 new homes, and finalised a £2.6bn refinancing - the biggest ever for a housing association. A few months later, he spearheaded the acquisition of Gallagher Estates for £505m, cementing L&Q’s position as not just one of the most active housing associations but one of the UK’s largest developers by volume. Collecting the award on the night, Montague said: “The property world is really so new to housing associations, so to see so many nominated so frequently in each of the categories and then for me to win this award is an extraordinary thing.”
Sponsored by: SLC Solicitors
Asset Manager of the Year
At the start of last year, Grainger unveiled plans to commit £850m to build-to-rent projects by 2020. The company, whose portfolio of private rented homes is worth around £2.6bn, also said it would stop building homes for sale once it had completed projects already under way. In total, Grainger expects its plan to deliver at least 5,000 new homes. Highlights of 2016 included buying a site for 614 units at Clippers Quay in Manchester for £100m; securing a site for a 242-unit development in Leeds for £40m; and agreeing to buy a 194-unit build-to-rent development at Finzels Reach in Bristol for £46m. The judges praised Grainger for its strong performance in 2016, commenting that “the statistics speak for themselves” and the company is a “hard act to beat”.
Highly Commended: Platform_
Sponsored by: Yardi
Large Developer of the Year (more than 1000 units)
Social housing group A2Dominion specialises in building homes in London and the South East. It completed 1,127 units in 2016, double the number it built the previous year. This enabled the company to grow its sales by 58% year on year to £140m, with profits of £40m. The group’s landmark schemes of 2016 included the 393-unit first phase of Elmsbrook in the UK’s first eco-town, North West Bicester, and the 800-unit Jigsaw regeneration scheme in West Ealing with Rydon. The company has allocated 20% of its new schemes for private rent. Judges commended A2Dominion for doubling its completions last year and for the wide range of tenures it includes within its projects.
Highly Commended: Home Group
Sponsored by: CBRE
Small Developer of the Year (less than 1000 units)
Urban Splash was founded in 1993 and over the past 24 years has worked with top architects and designers to create new communities across the UK. In 2016, the company grew its portfolio with the 27,500 sq ft redevelopment of Manchester’s disused Stubbs Mill and the completion of the first 260 homes at the listed but previously ruined Park Hill in Sheffield. However, the main focus last year for Urban Splash was its hoUSe modular housing product, which the company says will revolutionise the sector by accelerating residential development. Judges described the company as “a trailblazer” and praised its “innovation in the housing market”.
Highly Commended: The Collective
Sponsored by: Strutt & Parker
Deal of the Year
Patron Capital, Epiris and EY – Grainger Retirement Solutions
Advised by EY, Patron Capital and Epiris (formerly Electra Partners) completed the acquisition of Retirement Solutions, Grainger’s home reversion equity release business, in May last year. The deal involved 3,500 properties and was the first transaction of this scale in the niche property class. As lead investor, Patron Capital had the vision to buy what was a part of a larger company and turn it into a standalone business: Retirement Bridge Group. It achieved this while ensuring day-to-day customer service and operations were unaffected. The judges described the deal as a “standout winner” that has “energised the market”.
Highly Commended: Apache Capital Partners and Moda Living - Angel Gardens
Sponsored by: RPS
PRS Deal of the Year
Homes and Communities Agency
The HCA is a key supporter of the build-to-rent sector, with schemes totalling 10,000 homes currently backed by its £3bn Home Building Fund, including 8,000 units under construction. In December 2016, it closed one of the sector’s largest-ever build-to-rent deals with Dandara. The HCA committed £40m of mezzanine finance along with senior lender HSBC to deliver a £400m build-to-rent portfolio of more than 2,000 high-quality rental homes on brownfield sites in three key English cities. The judges praised the HCA for its “sterling effort and innovative use of public subsidy”.
Sponsored by: Residential Land
Newcomer of the Year
The Land Trust
Land Trust Residential Services (LTRS) is the new subsidiary of national land management charity The Land Trust and was set up to manage green infrastructure around residential and commercial projects. The organisation now manages green spaces for 1,000 property owners and is looking to double this number in 2017. LTRS’s work helps property owners to maximise the value of their properties, while creating more opportunities for communities to get involved in the management of green spaces. The judges said LTRS “meets a real need” and praised its “strong social purpose”.
Sponsored by: Mount Anvil
Development of the Year
EcoWorld Ballymore - London City Island
Sitting to the east of Canary Wharf, City Island is a 12-acre mixed-use regeneration scheme that is set to create 1,700 homes as well as retail and leisure space. The first of its leisure tenants, the Italian deli and restaurant The Island Grocer, opened in November 2016 and last year the project also succeeded in attracting leading cultural institutions English National Ballet and the London Film School. EcoWorld Ballymore is looking to create a ‘mini Manhattan’ on the well-connected site, which boasts fast access to the West End, Canary Wharf, the City and City Airport. The judges praised the “hugely ambitious project from a trusted team that has raised the bar in terms of quality, placemaking and construction innovation”.
Highly commended: Essential Living - Vantage Point
Sponsored by: Knight Frank
Property Manager of the Year
Rendall & Rittner
Rendall & Rittner provides residential block management services for 45,000 units in a range of schemes in the UK, collecting £160m a year on behalf of its clients, which include Berkeley Homes and Telford Homes. In 2016, the firm grew its turnover by 13% year on year to £12.8m and is targeting growth of 11% this year. Its most significant deals of 2016 included winning instructions to manage 918 units at Berkeley’s Grosvenor Waterside in Chelsea and 284 units at Lend Lease’s One The Elephant. It also bolstered its team with the buyout in June of Bourne Estates, which manages 2,000 units in Bournemouth. The judges highlighted Rendall & Rittner’s “focus on delivery and sustainability”, as well as its “high-quality offering”.
Sponsored by: Qube
Letting Agency of the Year
Knight Frank opened two offices in 2016 - Battersea and Nine Elms and Victoria and Westminster - and set up a lettings team in Richmond upon Thames. The result is that its letting operation now has a presence in 33 offices across London and the home counties. Over the past 18 months, the team has focused on growing its reputation in the sub-£750 per week market in London, which has helped it achieve growth of 25% year on year in lettings worth up to £1,000 per week. The team’s long-term clients include the Church Commissioners, The Crown Estate and Grosvenor and it is also acting for major build-to-rent operators such as Essential Living, Greystar and Moda Living. The judges praised Knight Frank for its “very strong and consistent figures” and “substantial growth in all areas”.
Sponsored by: Roomservice by CORT
Residential Financier of the Year
Described by the judges as “a disruptor in the market”, OakNorth was founded in 2015 by Rishi Khosla and Joel Perlman, who experienced problems accessing debt finance from UK high-street banks for a previous business. The pair set up OakNorth to give borrowers the chance to discuss loan requirements and growth ambitions directly with the credit committee, thereby allowing deals to be done quickly and efficiently. In 2016, the firm grew its loan book to £300m, which directly helped to create 1,200 new homes, and signed key deals with developers including Pocket Living, Mason Partners and The Collective. The judges said: “OakNorth offers competitive rates, often in extremely tight timescales, filling a gap in the funding market
Sponsored by: Savills
Student Accommodation Operator of the Year
Jamie Lewis Residential founded CODE Students
Presented by: The Josh Carrick Foundation
Landlord of the Year (registered Social)
Network Homes owns and manages 20,000 homes across London and the South East and generates annual turnover of £300m. It completed 945 homes across all tenures in 2015-16 - just short of its long-term target of 1,000 each year. The company’s notable achievements in 2016 included teaming up with Stanhope on a joint venture to deliver 1,000 to 1,500 build-to-rent homes in the next three years. The judges were impressed by Network Homes’ excellent growth levels, describing 2016 as “a breathtaking year” for the company.
Highly Commended: Dolphin Living
Sponsored by: Hyperoptic
Landlord of the Year (Privately Owned)
Grainger’s highlights of 2016 include buying the 614-unit, build-to-rent site Clippers Quay in Manchester for £100m; securing a site for a 242-unit, build-to-rent development in Leeds for £40m; and agreeing to buy a 194-unit, build-to-rent development at Finzels Reach in Bristol for £46m. It also bought a prime private rented sector asset in London for £60m via GRIP, the specialist private rented sector fund that it manages with APG. The judges were impressed by Grainger’s “excellent financial returns, increasing geographical diversity and continuing customer focus”.
Sponsored by: First Port
UK Sales Agency of the Year
Strutt and Parker
In 2016, Strutt & Parker grew its number of offices, geographical coverage and market share and was active on a series of record-breaking deals in prime central London and across the UK. The business grew its UK network to 60 offices, with five new openings in core markets including South Kensington and Ascot. It also bought woodland and forestry specialist John Clegg & Co and expanded internationally through its relationships with Elysian Global in Dubai, Rahim & Co in Kuala Lumpur and Ark Properties in Shanghai. The judges praised the company for “growing while others contracted”, as well as its innovation.
Sponsored by: Howarth Homes
International Sales Agency
In 2016, Knight Frank expanded its global reach to 413 offices in 60 countries on six continents, employing some 14,800 professionals. The company’s website now operates in 20 languages and attracts 550,000 views each month. The firm advised on two of the UK’s most valuable international residential sales of the year. It acted on the sale of Forbes House in Belgrave Square and Lethbridge House on Cornwall Terrace, both in London, to Middle Eastern buyers for £75m and £44m respectively.
Praised by the judges for its “strong growth post Brexit referendum”, JLL achieved sales to international buyers worth just under £2bn in 2016, bolstered by a 280% increase in deals with Chinese buyers. The company now has 15 offices in China with dedicated international sales teams and sold more than 1,000 homes in the country last year. In total, JLL completed 2,400 international sales last year with an average sale price of more than £825,000. The team has been active on a host of well-known schemes in London, including EcoWorld Ballymore’s London City Island, City North by Telford Homes in Finsbury Park and Berkeley Group’s Prince of Wales Drive in Battersea.
Presented by: LIV Group
Residential Consultancy Practice of the Year
SAY Property Consulting
SAY Property Consulting’s highlights of 2016 included advising on three large regeneration projects, including one in Haringey, and acting on private rented sector projects including Canary Wharf Group’s private rented portfolio and Grosvenor’s Biscuit Factory. The SAY team also worked on landmark London schemes including The Atlas Building, One Nine Elms and Rathbone Place. The judges highlighted SAY’s “very high-calibre client base and very high level of repeat business”.
Sponsored by: Longharbour
Residential Investment Agency
In 2016, Knight Frank’s residential investment team exchanged on assets worth £2bn and advised on properties with a combined value of £15bn. The company also grew its team to 40 people and set up the only dedicated private rented sector research team in the market. Its most notable transactions of last year included selling the Ardent Portfolio of 25 assets, housing 5,500 students in 12 cities, for £417m and two tenanted blocks in Mayfair for more than £90m. The judges described Knight Frank as “head and shoulders above the rest”, adding that they were impressed by the depth of the company’s client base and its great results in 2016.
Sponsored by: Places for People
Retirement Living Operator of the Year
Churchill Retirement Living
Churchill Retirement Living is a privately owned, family-run company and is one of the fastest-growing retirement living operators in the UK. In 2016, Churchill achieved a turnover of £190m and an operating profit of £62m. These figures were up 32% and 43% respectively year on year. Churchill’s focus is on developing purpose-built one- and two-bed retirement apartments in the UK to enable its residents to live an independent, safe and fulfilled retirement. The judges commented on Churchill’s “excellent financials, range of services and quality of service”.
Highly commended: The Guinness Partnership
Presented by: Redwood Consulting