Civitas’ strategy is to acquire portfolios of built social homes in England and Wales, where the counterparty to the lease or occupancy agreement is a Housing Association or Local Authority (together “Registered Providers”). Working in partnership with Registered Providers and other housing professionals, Civitas helps them unlock capital held in existing social homes for new development and to promote the delivery of new social homes. Civitas intends to develop a diversified portfolio of built social housing, comprising social homes designed for supported living, extra care or other specific needs as well as standard general needs homes. The Company does not develop, forward finance or manage social homes directly but works in close collaboration with Registered Providers who provide these services. Income is based on long term leases and occupancy agreements of typically 10 to 40 years. Circa 85% plus of rental income paid to the Company by Registered Providers will be directly paid by Government or Local Authority. The social housing sector has never suffered a credit loss. Underpinning the strategy is the strength of the Civitas team, which brings together several leading figures from social housing, investment funds and capital markets. Many of the team members have worked together successfully for over 20 years. Civitas Social Housing PLC is advised by Civitas Housing Advisors (‘CHA’). The CHA team has had regulatory and operational experience at the highest level in the Sector, including: the acquisition, sale and management of over 80,000 Social Homes throughout the UK.
The social housing sector in England and Wales is valued at more than £300 billion. Social homes, those supplied by Housing Associations and Local Authorities in England and Wales, account for approximately 17.5% of total housing stock being some 2.65 million properties. These homes are provided by around 1,500 Housing Associations and many Local Authorities. Despite the scale of the sector there is today a widely recognised chronic shortage of all types of social housing in England and Wales, with approximately 4.5 million people having qualified for social housing and currently sitting on local authority housing waiting lists. By comparison in 2015/16, only 17,500 new social homes were delivered in England and Wales. Through the 1970s, the proportion of social housing in the total number of new homes built each year averaged around 45%, and was over 50% in some years. In the last 10 years, the annual average has fallen to 20%. This fall is partly due to the level of capital subsidy, which has been progressively reduced as government pushes associations towards replacing public subsidy with private finance. Registered Providers, in particular Housing Associations, are seeking to respond positively to the shortage of UK social homes by becoming ever more cost and operationally efficient in order to provide maximum resources towards development. This includes the sale within the social housing sector of some social homes by stock rationalisation both on a standalone basis or as a result of Housing Associations merging together. The sector is regulated by the Homes and Communities Agency (“HCA”), a government sponsored body.