Read part 1 here.
There are two categories of purchasers for social housing in Ireland being the local authorities and the AHBs. The developers we engage with are happy to deal with either category, as ultimately it will be state finance that will fund the purchase of the relevant development.
All local authorities are in charge of the housing list in their areas. Up to the 1980s, they all had the ability to either construct housing directly or employ contractors to do it on their behalf. During the 1990s, the local authorities lost this ability.
As a result of the housing crisis, local authorities have had to recommence the provision of social housing. Some local authorities look to meet the demand themselves, by entering into contracts with developers for housing in areas of need. Others do not have the levels of expertise required for this and as a result they employ AHBs to provide the required housing.
Approved Housing Bodies
AHBs are charities that look to provide social and affordable housing, where there is a need. Typically, but not exclusively, they do this where the relevant local authority does not have the expertise to provide the housing themselves. The AHB will only enter a contract to purchase a development when the local authority tells them there is a need in that specific area. At this point there are a large number of AHBs, with the examples of the main players being Cluid, Tuath, and Co-Operative Housing Ireland.
LEVELS OF ENGAGEMENT
When a developer is commencing a social or affordable housing project, he will enter negotiations with a local authority or an AHB. There are three levels of engagement in this process. At first the purchaser will provide correspondence that they are interested in a development, secondly they will provide a detailed price and list of requirements that they need in the individual units and finally, there is the sales contract. The following is a more detailed breakdown of these stages.
Most developers now have good relationships with the local authorities and AHBs, so they have a good understanding where there is the most need for housing. Accordingly they will source sites in the relevant areas and if the site does not have planning they will look to put in place planning, for the type of housing required, typically a combination of 1, 2, and 3 bedroom units. At this point they will be having discussions, with the local authority or an AHB, which will lead to a letter being provided by these parties stating that they would look to purchase the development for an overall price. This letter will be heavily caveated.
Letter of Intent
After further negotiations, the local authority or the AHB will provide a Letter of Intent, which will state the individual price that they will purchase every unit and will lay out their specific requirements for the development as a whole. The Letter of Intent will state that the offer is subject to them sourcing funding to allow them to purchase the development. It is at this point that all financial institutions, including Property Bridges, are happy to provide funding for the purchase of the site and / or the build out of the units on the site.
The Contract for Sale between both parties is typically completed 4 – 5 months after the Letter of Intent is issued. It lays out specifically the terms of purchase and has conditionality about sourcing funding for the purchase. By the time, the Contract for Sale is in place, the developer will have commenced building on the relevant site.
Hopefully, we have given you an insight into how the social and affordable housing model works in Ireland. Please feel free to contact us if you require any further information.
We in Property Bridges believe that the social housing model will play a major role in the provision of residential property in Ireland for at least the next 5 years. This will allow us to bring you, our lenders, the opportunities to invest in local government-backed property lending, at strong levels of return, whilst also playing your part in providing housing for those who need it.
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