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AHTO aims £1 bn institutional funds at UK housing crisis

Real estate specialist AHTO Group, working with the bank Citi UK, will invest £1 billion UK social housing over the next three to five years as part of its initiative to help people work towards full home ownership at a lower cost than is entailed with shared ownership schemes.

The organisations said that the average time taken by a UK household to save for a deposit is currently thirteen years.

It will use £1 billion to buy approximately 4,000 intermediate rent-to-buy homes both in London and in regional towns and cities across the UK. These will be acquired out of shared ownership or from private sale housebuilders. AHTO will then lease these properties to a housing association partner, with customers able to buy their home at a 10% discount to open-market-value at the end of their tenure.

AHTO said it will purchase newly built affordable homes (Section 106 homes) or private sale homes from either housing associations or UK housebuilders.

AHTO a ‘privately owned business with a social purpose’

Founded in 2020 and with a head office in London AHTO (Affordable Homes to Own) describes itself as a privately owned business with a social purpose driven by outcomes which benefit local communities. The group is funded with Tier 1 Investment Bank senior debt and permanent equity from an institutional family office.

Citi UK, part of American multinational Citigroup, is acting as a structuring advisor and financing arranger. AHTO plans to invest up to £150 million per project to secure residential developments of up to 500 homes in each case. These could include apartments and houses and targets include London, Leeds, Bristol, Manchester, Reading, Dartford and Woking

“The only viable solution to the UK’s affordable housing crisis, without grant funding or subsidies, is to channel institutional investment into the market,” said AHTO chief investment officer Sam Senchal. “The intermediate rent-to-buy model brings together our partners and institutional investors to deliver more affordable homes for families with less complexity and cost compared with current affordable home models.”

AHTO’s key advisers are Clarke Willmott, Knight Frank and Colliers.