BlackRock continues social housing drive

The firm makes its third debt investment in the sector with a £75m financing for GreenSquare.

BlackRock Real Assets has completed its latest investment in UK social housing with a £75 million (€84.2 million) commitment to GreenSquare, a local provider.

The debt transaction was secured against existing social housing stock from GreenSquare, which has over 11,500 social housing properties throughout Wiltshire, Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.

“This debt has been utilised to refinance a portion of GreenSquare’s existing debt, which was reducing GreenSquare’s ability to achieve its business plan,” said Antoine Pesenti managing director at TradeRisks, the arranger of the transaction.

The debt financing will allow GreenSquare to build new homes in a market suffering from shortages in affordable housing, BlackRock noted.

The transaction was completed through BlackRock’s European infrastructure debt team, which sits under BlackRock Real Assets. GreenSquare is the team’s third investment in the UK social housing sector, bringing its total invested capital in the sector to £250 million across the platform.

Last year, BlackRock provided £100 million of debt financing to Wheatley Housing Group, Scotland’s biggest housing, care and property management company. The group, which owns or manages 83,000 homes, used the finance to develop around 3,500 new social and mid-market rented homes in Scotland.

In 2016, the division participated in a £275 million debt package to Trafford Housing Trust, a housing association in Manchester. The financing supported the construction of 2,000 homes over four years. BlackRock and Pension Insurance Corporate provided £75 million each, while Yorkshire Building Society supplied an additional £25 million in debt. Lloyds provided a £100 million revolving debt facility.

The latest deal brings the European infrastructure debt team’s total debt portfolio to over £1.6 billion, part of £3 billion invested globally.