2020 was synonymous with uncertainty and a requirement to adapt to an ever-changing environment. Home Building Finance Ireland (HBFI) successfully evolved in its second year of operations and showed an awareness of market needs with further new products in November 2020.
To date, HBFI has launched a range of new product offerings to enable more housebuilders to access funding to resume developments. In May 2020, HBFI announced three new products alongside its Senior Debt Product, namely the Momentum Fund, the Apartment Product and the under 10 units product. The products were designed to facilitate a quick resumption of housebuilding throughout Ireland in the wake of Covid-19 restrictions being eased and to ensure HBFI reached a wider cohort of builders/developers.
HBFI CEO Dara Deering, says that the products have been well received by housebuilders, and consequently, “HBFI has seen a significant uptick in the level of funding requests. To end July 2020, HBFI had approved €340m funding for 1,477 new homes in 29 developments in 16 counties. It is noteworthy that Social housing projects accounted for 34% of the new homes approved for funding.”
In November 2020, HBFI launched two new products to further its presence throughout the housebuilding finance market. These products closely support the market requirements and have been developed following extensive engagement with market participants. The two new products are:
- COSME Product
- Social Housing Product.
Under the COSME (Competitiveness of Enterprises and SMEs) Loan Guarantee Scheme provided by the EIF (European Investment Fund), small developments of between 5 and 10 units (inclusive) may avail of the scheme. For those developments that qualify for the scheme, HBFI may be able to provide funding at a higher level of gearing and thereby provide funding for small developments that might not otherwise qualify or have difficulty in raising funding for the development.
Social Housing Product
HBFI works closely with Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs), Local Authorities and Housing Agency to better understand the market requirements. The aim is that HBFI will continue to be a facilitator in unlocking funding for viable projects that are earmarked for the Social Housing sector. The Social Housing Product is designed to provide funding for social housing projects that are contracted for sale pre-construction (‘turn-key projects’) to a Local Authority or an AHB (Approved Housing Body).
Creating Solutions To The Housing Shortage
How can we better address the housing shortage? In response to this question, Dara Deering, stated that “No one agency will solve the housing shortage and no one type of housing can meet the needs of a varied demographic. HBFI was established as a targeted measure and is one aspect of the multi-faceted approach taken by Government to address the housing shortage. However, HBFI is keenly aware of its mandate, and we will ensure that finance is not a barrier in the development of commercially viable residential developments”.
HBFI welcomes questions or queries from members of the construction industry and can be contacted by telephone on 01 2384000. Alternatively, further information is available on the HBFI website at www.hbfi.ie.