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Real Estate Finance Insights

Real Estate Finance Insights

Calendar changing from 2023 to 2024

With Christmas lights up and festive jumpers on, it is that time of year once again. But before we look forward to the upcoming holidays, it's a good time to reflect on the year. So, with 2023 coming to a close, we've done just that.

From one of our largest ever investment property loans through to a record-breaking ramble to fundraise for the National Autistic Society, here's our countdown of some of our favourite stories from this year.

1. Boosting energy efficiency in Streatham

One of the first deals we reported on this year was originated by our Relationship Director Mike Feasey, where he and property finance brokers Aureum Finance secured a £5m residential property investment loan to refinance a suite of Victorian properties in Streatham, near Central London.

Not only did the investment loan allow the borrowers to combine all their property loans across their portfolio into one easy-to-manage facility, but a sizable part of the loan was also put towards upgrades to improve the residential properties' energy efficiency. With a growing number of developers and investors exploring energy efficient upgrades to residential stock, we're looking forward to assisting others to become that bit greener in 2024.

2. Funding renovation in Edinburgh

Sticking with property improvement, another project we funded was the refurbishment of Kingsford Residences, a build-to-rent scheme in Edinburgh. The Edwardian period building was converted into 74 luxury apartments in 2017, and with the owners of the building, Kingsford Group, keen to keep energy costs down for its tenants, our Head of Origination Matthew-Blaine Young struck a deal under our EPC Improvement Loan.

The loan, which is available to our existing customers, was used for energy saving upgrades such as the installation of secondary glazing and solar panels to help the property get to an EPC C rating.

3. Funding new Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) in Birmingham

Heading to the Midlands, this year also saw us lend to Birmingham-based developers Volume.Property for one of its latest student accommodation schemes, Bridge Street Studios.

With a £6m student accommodation finance package orchestrated by our Relationship Director and PBSA specialist David Burke, our loan facility has helped alleviate the challenges with the shortage of student residences in the UK, bringing a stylish 70-studio apartment building to completion.

4. Financing the acquisition of a portfolio of period properties

Another transaction from our Head of Origination Matthew-Blaine Young was a deal with Maia Real Estate Group. Looking to expand its real estate assets in the UK, we drew up a £7.3m deal with a five-year term that would allow Maia to go on to acquire a portfolio of six Georgian-style apartment blocks in Cheltenham, as well as a triple-fronted Victorian-style property in Balham, London.

The transaction was also made possible thanks to the introduction from our broker partners Carbon Financial Consultants.

5. Turning an old petrol station into stunning new-build family homes

While we've talked about many deals for period properties up to now, our property development finance products aren't just for existing buildings, as shown earlier this year with Larkvale Homes' latest exclusive luxury housing development in Suffolk.

Scotts Way in Cockfield, near Bury St Edmunds, is a collection of nine high-efficiency luxury homes built on the lands of a former petrol station. The £2m property development loan was organised by our Senior Relationship Director John O'Leary, and it was his personal approach, tailored real estate finance advice, and long-standing relationship with the borrower that helped to seal the deal.

6. Our biggest ever refinancing deal

In the middle of the year, we were proud to announce our biggest ever deal with Interland, a renowned private real estate and renewable energy investment company. A £66.4m investment property loan was agreed by Andy Clutterbuck, our Regional Head for Midlands and South, and Richard Nowell, our Senior Relationship Director.

Our facility aided Interland in consolidating its property loans and lowering its cost of debt across its portfolio of properties in commercial real estate, the private rented sector, social and council housing, student accommodation and more.

7. Funding the Development of Zero Carbon Industrial Warehouses

We have provided all sorts of property funding over the years and one unique deal we were able to showcase this year was the financing of four new warehousing units at Port One Logistics Park in Ipswich.

Our Senior Relationship Director, Richard Lynn, was able to apply his knowledge of commercial property development finance and industrial pre-let warehousing to create a £20m, 15-month finance package for Curzon de Vere Limited. The loan was used to create four new zero carbon units on the park, featuring solar panels that provide 5MW of photovoltaic energy for the industrial buildings.

8. Rejuvenating a Grade II listed cottage with our residential development finance

At Secure Trust Bank Real Estate Finance, we are all about funding interesting real estate projects, and one story that stood out for us this year was the rejuvenation of Spring Grange. Spring Grange is a Grade II listed cottage in rural Hertfordshire that had become overgrown, and a third of the property had also burnt down in a fire.

When Ferndale Homes' Bob Woodcock turned to us to finance the restoration of this great building as well as build another two homes on the property's land, we were more than happy to oblige. The £2.01 property development loan was struck by John O'Leary, and following the restoration and build, all three properties were valued between £1.3m and £1.5m each.

9. A bespoke loan for affordable homes

With a vision to become the most trusted specialist lender in the UK, and earlier this year, we were able to showcase our prowess in one of the more complex categories of real estate finance - affordable homes and shared ownership properties.

V&F Homes, a registered provider of social housing, came to us to refinance a portfolio of 34 properties around Norfolk, Suffolk and London. Matthew-Blaine Young headed up the deal, bringing his previous experience in structuring these deals and flexible loans to help achieve a bespoke loan facility that allowed the company to acquire the portfolio and expand.

10. Smashing through our fundraising targets for National Autistic Society

At number ten on our list of highlights is the REF Ramble. Organised by Mike Feasey, the REF Ramble is our annual charity fundraiser, and this year, we were raising money for the National Autistic Society.

A total of 37 'ramblers' took part in our 20-mile walk from Goring to Henley-on-Thames, and it was a great day of exercise and exploration for our colleagues and partnering firms who joined us on the day. Not only that, it was also a record-breaking fundraiser, with over £15k raised and donated to the UK's leading charity for autistic people and their families.

So that's it, our 10 stand-out real estate finance stories from this year. We're looking forward to what 2024 will bring, but for now, if you want to speak to our finance team and have a deal that could make this list next year, contact us.