Trowers advises on first affordable housing MMC charging exercise


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International law firm Trowers & Hamlins has advised on the groundbreaking charging of affordable homes built using modern methods of construction (MMC). 

GreenSquareAccord charged 120 timber frame homes to THFC’s subsidiary, bLEND Funding Plc, as part of a portfolio of properties to secure its £75m loan. The units were produced by GreenSquareAccord’s specialist off site manufacturer, LoCal Homes and all have an Energy Performance Rating of ‘B', with a design life which exceeds British Standards. They are all covered by Premier Guarantee Insurance. 

Trowers & Hamlins' Survey "Funding Barriers to Offsite Housing" identified back in 2019  that the lack of acceptance of MMC by funders was an obstacle hindering the wider adoption of MMC within the affordable housing sector.  Trowers has been working alongside other key players across the sector to increase funder confidence in MMC and its use amongst affordable housing providers. 

Piers Williamson, THFC’s CEO, said:

“In 2020 we set ourselves the aim of becoming a leading actor on MMC, and the completion of GreenSquareAccord’s charging exercise demonstrates a continued commitment. We see it as our duty as the sector’s leading aggregator to work with borrowers to ensure that the sector’s lenders adjust their security policies appropriately to ensure that its pioneers are not unfairly penalised. Working with Trowers, GreenSquareAccord and Savills on this exercise has given us invaluable experience which will help us further build our knowledge and streamline our policies and processes."

James Tarrant, Director of Corporate Finance & Treasury at GreenSquareAccord, said: 

“We are delighted to be working with Trowers, bLEND and Savills in delivering investment in social housing that is focussed on sustainability and energy efficiency. At GreenSquareAccord we are committed to doing our part in reaching carbon net zero, and these steps announced today are all part of our journey towards reaching that goal. The use of our LoCaL Homes built properties as collateral for securing this funding demonstrates the confidence funders and investors have that our panelised system will remain durable and reliable.”

The Trowers team comprised Katie Dyer, Melanie Comer, Yvonne Mao, Forhad Ahmed, Katie Saunders, Kelvin Wells and Sarah Darvell. 

Katie Dyer, joint head of the Real Estate Finance Security team at Trowers & Hamlins commented: 

"I am absolutely delighted that Trowers & Hamlins has helped THFC and GreenSquareAccord complete such a significant transaction for the sector. This is indicative of the increase in funder support of MMC which we are pleased to have seen over the past few years.  One size does not fit all and it is so important to resolve any issues that arise on a case by case basis. A flexible approach was key to the successful completion of this transaction."

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