SHEPHERD DIRECT CONFIRMS MAJOR NATIONWIDE PRIVATE RENTAL HOMEBUILDING DEAL

25 November 2014

Shepherd Direct, the owner of estate agency CENTURY 21 UK and Direct Lettings, and owners of mortgage firms' moneyQuest and If I Were You, has today confirmed a major nationwide deal to build thousands of new private rental homes across the UK.

The innovative deal, created by Sigma, the residential and urban regeneration specialist,   includes Shepherd Direct, with equity from Gatehouse Bank plc and bank finance, will eventually create Britain’s biggest private rental sector landlord with at least 6,600 properties in a £700m joint venture.

Shepherd Direct businesses, CENTURY 21 UK and Direct Lettings, will deliver the project as Sigma’s partner with CENTURY 21 agency offices handling tenant selection across the UK for all properties, with ongoing portfolio management undertaken by the Group’s Direct Lettings business.

The deal officially completed this week and the first construction phase of the building project began with the building of 927 new rental homes at a development cost of approximately £100m.

The 927 new homes will comprise a mix of high quality family homes and apartments and will be constructed across 14 sites in phase one including 10 in Greater Manchester and four in the Liverpool area. Further phases of new homes are planned across the UK which will boost the number of homes to thousands.

This private rental sector project, which has been endorsed by The Rt Hon. David Cameron, MP, Prime Minister and The Rt Hon. Vince Cable, UK Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, is likely to become one of the UK’s largest portfolios of new private rented residential homes.

At the time of the initial announcement of this project, David Cameron, said of the venture:

 “...this is brilliant news for the North West and for Britain, showing that we are open for business. The rental market is a vital asset to this country and this new investment will help to boost local economies, create jobs and deliver more homes for hardworking people."

Rob Clifford, Group Commercial Director of Shepherd Direct Group, commented:

“This is a particularly exciting announcement for our Group and is the culmination of many months of hard work by our PRS Managing Director, Paul Staley, and his team. Shepherd Direct Group is absolutely delighted to be a key component in this proposition with our important role in selecting tenants and managing the portfolio for years to come. We have worked very closely with the team at Sigma in order to get to this stage and there will clearly be many benefits, particularly for our hundreds of new tenants who will have the benefit of this fantastic new-build product. As our CENTURY 21 UK and Direct Lettings businesses are delivering the project exclusively this provides a great boost to our franchisees and also our central teams in Nottingham. In anticipation, CENTURY 21 UK continues its expansion with new franchised offices in Salford and Liverpool North which will be under the ownership of Roger Claughton and Dan Pennington, both successful and highly-regarded Century 21 office owners. The further good news is that this is just the start of the first phase; our anticipation is that this will result in thousands of private rental sector homes being built, with the potential for further projects across the UK. This truly is a landmark moment for this project and Shepherd Direct will be playing a full part in bringing it to fruition.”


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