In this week's blog, being a solution-orientated business, we are looking at the broader problematic elements our solution seeks to address. These elements are coincidentally the very opportunity that underpins the value in our asset class, the expansion of the UK housing supply.

Interestingly, this week's blog concept was primarily inspired by an article in the Financial Times that questions how many units England needs to build. Unless you have been entirely adrift of the popular narrative over the last 24 months, you will be aware of the 300,000-unit per year housing target but rarely has anyone paused to wonder where that figure has come from. Several Google searches later, it's still unclear; Bloomberg Opinion has pondered if it's just a percentage per year more than what we are currently doing, others have suggested it's calculated by comparing planning data with net immigration figures, others have suggested it just sounded relatively achievable.

If you looked back to the UK Gov manifesto in 2019, it set out a housing target of '300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s'. This figure relating to 'net additional dwellings' appeared back then to be achievable based on 2021-22, when we produced 232,820 net additional dwellings. Nobody could have foreseen what happened in March of 2020; however, in hindsight, an average of the previous ten years was a net of 178,228 a year, so 300,000 may have been optimistic before the macro headwinds turned against the industry.

Returning to the piece in the Financial Times, their analysts believe the real target based on net population increase needs to be more than half a million a year; this was taken from migration projections over the next decade, where their math pointed to 421,000 a year as a minimum, and 529,000 if current net migration levels hold. By our calculations, the difference between the target and the top prediction for the requirement is greater than the average number of units produced per year over the previous decade.

So, while that alarming actuality ruminates, before we flip this to a positive conclusion and have a closer look at the opportunity, let's continue down this disheartening path a bit further. PBC today published a stark headline that failed to pull any punches back in Q4 of last year, "English Housing is the worst in Europe" and proceeded to back that statement with detailed analysis from our friends at the Homebuilder Association. The report signalled that this is more than just about supply; the UK has some of the oldest housing stock in the developed work, with only 7% of British Homes built after 2001 at the time the report was generated. By comparison, Spain would be 18.5% and Portugal 16%. The percentage of older housing falling under the decent homes standard in the UK is 15% and rising, which is vehemently problematic; if you are trying to fill a bucket full of water, holes in the bucket mean the inflow must exceed the outflow dramatically. The problem here, at best, is a need for energy efficiency and problems where houses can be modified; however, alarmingly, this percentage also includes housing stock that is no longer fit for habitation and large urban areas that essentially need regeneration.

Significant investments have been made across various European countries to address housing shortages and modernize existing housing stock in recent years; these investments typically include capital expenditures for new construction, renovation, and infrastructure improvements, as well as subsidies, incentives, and financing programs to support affordable housing initiatives, all aiming to improve housing quality, affordability, and sustainability while stimulating economic growth and addressing social needs. These are issues coming down the track in the UK, and that's where we finally flip this albeit slightly dispiriting blog back to a more sanguine conclusion.

Our offering is a low volatility, strong return asset class. - earning clients' interest by lending to robust, carefully chosen and monitored residential development projects, an endeavour historically attributed to banks, and traditionally, we would say, the strength of the housing market underpins it; however, perhaps to drill down on that a bit further, it's really the unquenchable demand of the housing market that underpins it. There is an entrenched high-volume requirement for new starts, and perhaps now, the growth of the specialist lender sector and the expert lending businesses within it is intrinsically linked to that requirement more than ever before.

Invest & Fund has returned over £200 million of capital and interest to lenders with zero losses, showing the rigour that governs our business.

To take maximum advantage of this robust and exciting asset class, please visit or contact Shaheel at

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