Press Release: 08 February 2017
154 new affordable homes to be developed in Croydon following loan from OakNorth
• OakNorth, has completed a £4m loan to Pocket Living – experienced property developers who specialise in developing well-designed, local and affordable homes for first-time buyers;
• The loan will be used to acquire the freehold of an existing property in Croydon and in its place, develop two apartment blocks of 19 and 21 floors, housing 154 apartments;
• This will be the fifth development from Pocket Living which has already completed four similar projects in coordination with London Authorities.
OakNorth – the bank for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs – has lent £4m to Pocket Living, well-known providers of affordable housing who specialise in developing properties that are at least 20 percent cheaper than the surrounding market rate.
Planning permission has already been granted for the demolition of the property – based on Addiscombe Grove – and the development of 74 residential units in its place. However, Pocket Living is hoping to enhance this permission and instead develop two blocks (one with 19 floors and one with 21) that will house 122 one-bedroom apartments, and 32 two-bedroom apartments.
The one-bedroom “Pocket Units” will be approx. 41 sq. m (442 sq. ft.) and comprise of a spacious bedroom, bathroom, large windows and underfloor heating. These units are offered at a 20 per cent discount to the current surrounding market and remain affordable in perpetuity through the use of a restrictive covenant. The two-bedroom units will have similar features but will be around 64 sq. meter (686 sq. feet). The building, which will also have storage for 196 bicycles, is situated just 200m from East Croydon Station which provides direct transport links to London Victoria, London Bridge, St Pancras International, Brighton and Gatwick Airport.
As a region, Croydon is currently experiencing significant regeneration, including a comprehensive expansion and regeneration of the Whitgift Shopping Centre. House prices in the area have increased significantly in the last two years, growing at a faster rate in 2015 and 2016 than many other London boroughs. Average house prices currently sit at £370,000, compared to £475,000 across London and £960,000 in prime central areas such as Westminster.
Commenting on the deal, Pocket Living co-founders Marc Vlessing and Paul Harbard, said: “Pocket homes are for the people who make London tick. They're the city makers who contribute so much economically, socially and culturally to the capital, yet are unable to buy their first home. We're changing things so they can.
“We are delighted to have secured the finance needed for our fifth development – the team at OakNorth were incredibly supportive and communicative, ensuring that we knew how things were progressing throughout every stage of the deal.”
Deepesh Thakrar, Debt Finance Director at OakNorth Bank, commented: “Croydon is an area that has been transformed in recent years – its 20-minute proximity to central London and relative affordability compared to the capital, makes it a popular choice for first-time buyers looking to take their first step on the property ladder.
“Pocket Living has a proven business model that will continue to grow in importance as the housing crisis deepens. The business has a further eight projects currently under development with several more in the pipeline so we look forward to working with them in the future.”