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A row of houses
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Countryside Properties is currently the fastest-growing listed housebuilder in the UK*. Barclays helps them stay on the growth track and meet rising demand for housing.

*Source: Countryside Properties

Statistic quoted in video
1. Countryside Properties is a leading UK housebuilder and regeneration company. (Source: Countryside Properties)

A shortage of housing fuels growth

In real estate, supply and demand have always ruled. Countryside Properties has known this since it was founded 60 years ago. The UK housebuilder and urban regeneration partner has grown steadily as the population has grown sharply in and around London. To manage this level of growth, it helps to have Barclays as both a strategic partner and corporate lender.

“The demand for our product is strong,” says Ian Sutcliffe, CEO of Countryside Properties. “But we're mindful that we've got to make that growth in a steady and organized way.”

Barclays’ expertise in the housing sector helps Countryside stay nimble and react to the confluence of market forces currently shaping demand. Increasing numbers of people are immigrating to the UK from overseas. Households tend to be smaller, and people are living longer. More homes are needed just to stand still.

In London alone, we need around 50,000 homes a year to meet the growing demand.
Ian Sutcliffe, CEO, Countryside Properties

Brendan Jarvis, Managing Director at Barclays, specialises in the housing sector and works closely with Countryside Properties to analyse the market. "Monitoring the dynamic between supply and demand across the UK and also regionally, is really important,” says Jarvis.

Population growth in the UK

Statistics quoted in video
1. The UK currently delivers 180k new homes a year. (Source: “Housing supply; net additional dwellings, England: 2016-17.” Department for Communities and Local Government, 16 Nov 2017.)
2. The UK needs 250K new homes a year. (Source: “Building more homes” House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs, 15 July 2016.)

 

“The demand has outstripped the supply now for many years,” says Sutcliffe. “We're delivering something like 180,000 new homes a year as a sector, when in truth we probably need about 250,000 homes just to stand still. In London alone we need around 50,000 homes a year to meet the growing demand.”

For Barclays, a key to meeting this demand is providing Countryside Properties with access to equity capital, and the debt capital needed to be agile enough to purchase land, build and sell – what Barclays' Jarvis describes as the “bedrock” of the business.

Sutcliffe echoes that sentiment: “Ready access to capital and our revolving credit facility is absolutely essential to the growth plans of the business.”

* Office for National Statistics

No place like home

Statistics quoted in video
1. In 2014 80% of residents wanted to leave Acton Gardens, 2 years later 80% of residents wanted to stay. (Source: Countryside Properties)
2. Countryside Properties achieves 88% of its sustainability objectives. (Source: Countryside Properties)

 

Of course, real estate is never just about geography or square footage. For Countryside it’s about creating “places people love.”

“Anyone can throw up an apartment block,” says Rebecca Worthington, Group Chief Financial Officer at Countryside Properties. “That doesn't create a place and it doesn't create a community.”

Countryside’s mission is known as “placemaking” and it encompasses everything from building sustainably to creating green spaces to incorporating youth centres, medical facilities and shops into building plans.

Brendan Jarvis believes Barclays plays an important role in supporting and financing this mission. “We're not just a bank out to make a profit and pay dividends. The bank is at the heart of the community,” he says.

Countryside’s Acton Gardens development in West London is a great example of urban placemaking in action. “It was an 1,800-home social housing estate,” says Worthington. “The buildings were often incredibly poor quality, there was a lot of crime. It wasn't safe to walk on the streets at night.”

We’re not just helping a client that happens to be a housebuilder. We’re thinking about social responsibility.
Brendan Jarvis, Managing Director, Barclays

Countryside is now five years into its 15-year urban regeneration project at Acton Gardens. Upon completion, those 1,800 socially rented homes will have been replaced with nearly 3,000 mixed tenure homes, half of which will be affordable.

The response from residents has been overwhelmingly positive. At the start of the project, 80% of residents surveyed said they wanted to leave Acton Gardens. Two years later, 80% of respondents wanted to stay.

Growing – and going public – even during uncertainty

Countryside Properties already had a strong balance sheet, but it was planning a major growth initiative during a time of uncertainty in the UK economy and political sphere.

Against the backdrop of Brexit, Barclays co-led the IPO for Countryside, helping to frame Countryside’s potential to investors. The deal was finalised in February of 2016, providing more capital and financial clout to deliver on Countryside’s promise to create safe, appealing communities for a burgeoning population. Countryside is currently the fastest growing listed housebuilder in the UK, with 88 active sites in 2017.

Barclays were instrumental in forming our equity story.
Ian Sutcliffe, CEO, Countryside Properties

“We are significantly increasing our production by about 20% per annum,” says CFO Rebecca Worthington. “And we're able to do that because of the strong balance sheet including a primary equity raise at the time of our IPO, but also because we have strong funding partners, such as Barclays, within our debt facility.”

The IPO has “transformed our business,” says Sutcliffe. “It's given us greater capital to be able to deliver. It's allowed us the freedom to refinance the business and get a very flexible facility to support that growth.”

The success of Countryside shows how partnering with Barclays can grow good things – like homes.

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About our experts

Brendan Jarvis is a Managing Director and Head of Real Estate for the EMEA region at Barclays, based in London. Brendan has worked with the firm’s principal real estate clients for a number of years, originating many high profile deals. These include cross-border public to private acquisition transactions and bank and capital market corporate financings. He joined Barclays in 1972 and his depth of experience in banking across more than four decades has seen turbulent property cycles, as a credit officer, lending banker and industry sector head.

Stephen Younger is a Director within the Real Estate team at Barclays operating predominantly in the South East & Eastern Regions of the UK. Stephen provides day to day banking services including debt finance and liquidity management to clients across the Real Estate spectrum whilst also ensuring that specialist bankers from within the Barclays Group are deployed to meet the specific needs of his clients when required. He joined Barclays in 2008 and has worked in Real Estate finance for over 20 years.

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