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Bank aims to support building of new rental homes

NatWest Group has announced a new package of what it calls ”targeted lending and support” to help local councils provide more rental housing.

Through £5 billion of lending proposed between now and the end of 2026, the bank is aiming to support the delivery and maintenance of social housing in the UK.

A statement says: “This lending should help the housing associations sector to deliver a pipeline of new homes and improve living conditions in existing properties, thus improving the availability and quality of social housing in the UK. Alongside the construction of new properties, this lending could also help housing associations finance energy efficiency and environmental solutions, such as retrofits.”


In February 2021, the bank issued a €1 billion affordable housing social bond, the first of its kind by a UK bank, using the bond proceeds to finance or refinance loans to not-for-profit registered housing associations operating in the UK.

NatWest Group’s Ulster Bank brand in Northern Ireland recently concluded a lending transaction of £70m for social housing developer Choice Housing, with the developer planning to deliver nearly 1,000 new homes across Northern Ireland. 

In Scotland the bank delivered a £96million loan to Aberdeen-based Grampian Housing Association to finance the development of 1,000 new sustainable homes in the region. The loan provides GHA with the necessary flexibility to continue supporting its communities and tenants, where it currently provides services to over 4,000 households.

Robert Begbie - chief executive of Commercial & Institutional Banking at NatWest Group - says: “Against a backdrop of inflation and rising living costs, pressures on the housing sector and homeowners have increased. These increasing costs reduce the capacity to deal with other priorities such as new and upgraded housing, and tackling the critical challenges of energy efficiency, fire and tenant safety.

“In 2023, we completed nearly £3bn of new funding to help more people and families have access to housing. We support around 200 housing associations across the UK, and are proud to announce our ambition to provide a further £5 billion in funding to support the housing association sector by the end of 2026.”

The bank has also announced its Royal Foundation’s Homewards programme, which has identified the need to unlock more housing, and an important element of that is increased lending from bank focussed on social housing. The programme works in six locations - Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, Northern Ireland, Aberdeen, Sheffield and Newport and Lambeth - to undertake what it calls “a collective effort to help prevent homelessness in these areas across the next five years.”


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