Housing associations win £280m funding to build new homes

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Two Northern Ireland housing associations have secured £280 million worth of long term loans from the European Investment Bank to build almost 5,000 new social homes.

Choice and Apex associations have received EIB credit approval for £150 million and £130 million respectively.

As well as constructing 4,700 new social homes, the funds will enable the associations to retro-fit many existing properties.

The £280m will be match funded through the loan period by Stormont’s funding stream for housings associations and a number of other sources, resulting in an overall spend of £560m.

EIB vice-president Jonathan Taylor said: “The European Investment Bank has a firm commitment to supporting new investment in social and affordable housing across the UK that represents nearly half of overall EIB backing for social housing in Europe.

“The £280m provided by the European Investment Bank will ensure more than £560m of overall investment that will improve lives, create jobs, benefit local suppliers and cut heating bills in homes across Northern Ireland.”

“This investment package demonstrates confidence in our ability to deliver high quality outcomes and gives us access to the most cost-effective long-term finance arrangements ever used in Northern Ireland,” said Choice Housing CEO Michael McDonnell.

“Ultimately that means we can make public money go further and put more social homes in the areas where they are needed most.”

Apex chairman Martin Doherty said: “The EIB financial package will underpin Apex’s future development plans and enable us to continue our current programme of transforming disused brownfield sites in Belfast such as Girdwood, North Queen Street police station, Tiger’s Bay and in other high need areas across Northern Ireland, into high quality, vibrant communities where people want to live.”

Paul Givan, Stormont’s Minister for Communities, welcomed the investment, saying: “This funding shows the confidence that the European Investment Bank has in the work of local housing associations and is a clear indication that social housing is a strong market which continues to deliver,” he said.

“My department already provides significant funding for social housing and this combination of public and private financing will enable Choice Housing and Apex, two of our leading providers of social housing to build more social housing for those in most need across Northern Ireland.”

Lending by the EIB in the UK last year totalled £5.6 billion and supported long-term investment in 40 projects across the country.

That represented the largest annual engagement since the start of EIB lending in the UK in 1973.