News of our Recent Activities
7 October 2013
Help to Buy Seminar
We are pleased to be participating in running a seminar of the Help to Buy scheme with the Chartered Institute of Housing on 24 October as part of their development training seminars. If your organisation would like us to provide training in the Help to Buy process for new properties please contact any of the partners.
16 September 2013
First Home Finder Website
We are pleased to be working with Housetrade, a company which has developed a Website specifically for shared ownership in Manchester, on extending the site across London and, if successful, nationally. The site is provisionally called First Home Finder, and the launch date is targeted for January 2014.
12 August 2013
Brighton & Hove Council
We are delighted to be working with Brighton & Hove Council on a small project to maximise income from direct access hostels in the city centre. The intention is that this will lead to increased provision for this client group and other vulnerable groups in the city, which suffers disproportionately from high levels of alcoholism and misuse of drugs.
9 July 2013
We are expanding our land finding services for housing associations throughout London. If you have land that you wish to sell, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We guarantee an initial discussion without obligation and with complete discretion.
14 June 2013
Help to Buy
The Government’s equity loan scheme, Help to Buy 1, has now been fully launched. Direction Home are pleased to be assisting several small builders in obtaining funds from the HCA and the Help to Buy Agents. Unusually, the scheme is not simply aimed at the larger builders – the minimum scheme size is one property.
15 May 2013
Welcome Hand Public House site
We’re pleased to have completed the sale of 9 houses in Elm Park, Rainham, from Swainland Builders to Notting Hill Housing Trust. The three bedroom homes exceed London Plan space standards and all have large back gardens and on-plot parking, and high sustainability ratings. They demonstate that it is still possible to develop family homes for less than £250,000 in some parts of London
16 April 2013
Commercial Property Management for Housing Associations
Direction Home has teamed up with Lamberts, a well-known firm of chartered surveyors based in Islington in North London, to offer a commercial property management service to housing associations. Nowadays associations often have large portfolios of commercial property, often acquired as a result of planning requirements rather than as a deliberate policy. Often the portfolio is not big enough to justify taking staff on full-time to run it, and because it is not a core business it is often difficult to know where best to place it in the organisation.
Because of this we think that for many associations there may be scope to maximise the potential of the commercial portfolio. This could either be by increasing income, or selling established rental units on long leases for a capital sum, or both. Other spin-offs of ‘streamlining’ the portfolio could include better management of mixed use schemes with less nuisance to tenants, and encouraging small businesses on lower value or unused estate buildings.
Lamberts already manage the commercial portfolio on behalf of two large London associations, and Direction Home partners have been involved in this activity from the client point of view. If you’d like to discuss this informally with no obligation, please contact any of the partners or Christopher Hollins FRICS at Lamberts (email@example.com, 07831 194834 or 020 7520 2302)
25 March 2013
The 2013 gave a major boost to shared equity products, with the amount of government subsidy being made available for First Buy increasing from £280 million (to be spent over 4 years) to £3.5 billion to be spent over 3 years. In addition, the maximum value for properties which can be included was increased from £280,000 to £600,000, and the income cap of about £60,000 a year abolished altogether. The initiative is restricted to ‘participating housebuilders’ only (it’s not yet clear what the definition of these is). We look forward to working with clients and customers on helping to implement the proposals
15 March 2013
We’ve recently been carrying out marketing feasibilities for Wandle Housing Association on several new schemes. These involve assessing the marketability of new sites, including prices research, research on the local area and competition, transport links, and looking at any legal issues in Section 106 Agreements which might make sales difficult. Housing associations are under all kinds of pressures to commit allocations, and there is no such thing as a risk-free site – but with the aid of a thorough feasibility, at least the risks can be known and if possible mitigated. If you are interested in having one a marketing feasibility carried out on a new site – perhaps for a Board report or as part of the risk appraisal process – please contact any of the partners.
25 January 2013
HMS Belfast Party
The party to celebrate the first anniversary of the formation of the Direction Home Group was held on 24 January on HMS Belfast. We were pleased to welcome 100 guests to the boat, which is part of the Imperial War Museum and gives a fascinating insight into how life on board a warship must have been during the Second World War. Many thanks to all the guests who attended, and the staff who helped make it a thoroughly enjoyable evening.
20 December 2012
Direction Law and Direction Home first anniversary
Direction Home and Direction Law will be holding an event to mark the first anniversary of our partnership on Thursday 24 January 2013. It will be held on HMS Belfast just near Tower Bridge and the Tate Modern Art Gallery.
10 November 2012
Southern Housing Group – Diversifying Tenure
Direction Home has been appointed by Southern Housing Group to help develop ideas on diversifying tenure. The aim is to both generate income in response to the cuts in capital and revenue grant funding, and to increase the social mix on some estates.
2 November 2012
Wandle Housing Association sales and marketing
We have been appointed by Wandle housing association to improve the sales and marketing of shared ownership homes to customers. The work will involve dealing with a sales backlog, producing procedures for the sales operation, and staff training on low cost home ownership and leasehold management generally.
8 October 2012
Central Law Training
We are running two more training courses for Central Law Training in October. The first, on 16 October, is a Webinar designed to update legal personnel on the affordable housing market. The second, the following day, is part of a course entitled “Working with property developers in 2012” and our input centres on providing affordable housing through Section 106 agreements.
Full details are on the Central Law Training Website http://www.clt.co.uk/ through whom places can be booked if available.
12 July 2102
Partnership with the Chartered Institute of Housing Consultancy Team
We have now launched our ‘private rent and intermediate housing’ consultancy offer with the Chartered Institute of Housing. More details of the partnership can be found on the CIH Website using this link:
14 June 2012
Chartered Institute of Housing Conference
Steve Coleman is speaking today at the Chartered Institute of Housing conference in Manchester on the subject of “Funding Building for the Private Market”. The conference is being attended over its three days by several thousand housing professionals including almost all the senior figures in the field.
9 May 2012
Property search for North River Alliance
Direction Home have been retained by North River Alliance to look for small schemes of completed apartments and houses in north London to help them meet their Homes and Communities Agency targets for their development programme from 2011 to 2015. North River Alliance is a consortium of ten housing associations led by Islington and Shoreditch Housing Association (ISHA), working mainly in the north and east London boroughs of Barnet, Enfield, Hackney, Islington, Tower Hamlets, and Waltham Forest.
For more information, or if you have a site or scheme available, please contact Keith Colley >
9 May 2012
Formation of Direction Home Finance llp
We are pleased to announce that Direction Home have entered an arrangement with Richard Stone to concentrate jointly on the development of new financial products aimed at helping customers in the currently challenging financial climate.
The new entity is registered at Companies House as Direction Home Finance LLP.
Richard has been involved in affordable housing sector for over 25 years, and has advised most associations in England on mortgages for shared ownership and other intermediate products.
26 April 2012
Property Finding and Acquisition Service
As a result of our partnership with Direction Law, we are now able to offer very competitive costs for acquisition services for housing associations, including legal costs. We have just launched a ‘1% offer’ under which we offer to identify appropriate individual properties or schemes, negotiate a price with the owner, and carry out all legal work for a fee of 1% (+VAT and actual expenses) of the value of the property (or completed value if it is a newbuild scheme).
We can also offer very competitive prices for identification and acquisition of sites including legal fees.
18 April 2012
Market Rent – Partnering with CIH Consultancy
Direction Home has developed with the consultancy arm of the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH Consultancy) an offer to develop a blueprint for housing associations to start a market rent programme. The offer is for a fixed fee, and covers a housing market analysis in association with Hometrack and a report on the practical steps necessary to take, and which to avoid, in developing in this area. We are ‘launching’ the offer at seminars on private rent in Manchester and Swindon this week.
5 April 2012
Central Law Training – Affordable Housing Seminar
In conjunction with Direction Law, we are running a Conference for Central Law Training (CLT), who provide a very wide range of short courses for lawyers as part of their Continuing Professional Development. The course is titled “Doing Business with Housing Associations” and will cover development, funding and management as well as legal issues affecting housing associations now and in the future. The conference will be in central London on 24th April, and full details are available on the CLT Website http://www.clt.co.uk
2 April 2012
First Priority Housing Association
Direction Home has achieved, on behalf of clients 161 Living, the registration of one of the first private Registered Providers, First Priority Housing Association. The registration was approved at the Tenant Services Authority’s last Board meeting before its functions were taken over by the Homes & Communities Agency at the beginning of April. FPHA intends initially to provide accommodation in individual houses for adults with learning difficulties in the south-east, in partnership with Leonard Cheshire Disability. FPHA will manage houses which will be provided by PHI Investments, an investment company financed principally with Sharia-compliant funding.
2 January 2012
Direction Home Group Formed
We are delighted to announce the formation of the Direction Home Group, a partnership between ourselves and Lexica Law, a well-established firm of solicitors with offices in Canterbury and London specialising in legal services to housing associations and buyers of low cost homes. Although initially an association between the two organisations, we intend to create a formal Multi-Disciplinary Practise (MDP) as soon as the Law Society is able to authorise this, which we anticipate will be by spring 2012. We will be one of the first partnerships between a legal and a surveying firm, and almost certainly the first within the Affordable Housing sector. As part of this partnership, Lexica Law changed its name to Direction Law on 1 January 2012.
The move enables both firms to expand and improve our service to housing association clients and other providers of affordable housing. In particular we will together be able to offer site-finding, development and marketing services to our clients in an integrated way, which will be hope both improve service and cut costs, and benefit both our clients and their customers.
Both firms will remain as separate entities and will continue to specialise in what they do best, but with the added ability to offer a ‘single-point’ contact.