The British Property Federation (BPF) has launched an affordable-housing committee to “provide leadership” for the real estate industry in what has become a growing area for institutional investors.

Rob Beiley, partner of Trowers & Hamlins, and Simon Century, director of build-to-rent and affordable homes at Legal & General, have been appointed chair and vice chair, respectively.

Beiley and Century will lead an agenda “to maximise the real estate industry’s investment in affordable housing, and ensure better understanding within central and regional governments of the opportunities that the industry can offer to expand its provision of affordable homes”.

The committee will champion investment in high quality, diverse and sustainable affordable homes and will explore how the real estate indsutry can complement the work of housing associations and local authorities.

It will also lead the UK real estate industry’s responses to affordable housing-related government consultations and look to improve communication with the government and related institutions.

Beiley has more than 20 years’ experience advising housing associations, local authorities, developers and institutional investors, and Century joined Legal & General in 2016 to lead investment in the rental housing sector, before going on to found Legal & General Affordable Homes.

The committee’s members include:

  • Julia Bevan, Grainger
  • Chris Jeffs, M&G Real Estate
  • Peter Quinn, Watkin Jones
  • Charles Cleal, JLL
  • Charles Crowe, PGIM Real Estate
  • Natalia Kolotneva, LaSalle Investment Management
  • Catherin Webster, Quintain
  • Matthew Chillingworth, Federated Hermes
  • Olivia Harris, Dolphin Living
  • Tom Paul, Optivo
  • Debi Marriott-Lavery, Places for People
  • Kush Rawal, Metropolitan Thames Valley
  • Thomas Mudd, CBRE
  • Shamez Alibhai, Man GPM
  • Claire Kober, Pinnacle Group

A growing number of affordable UK housing funds have been launched over the past two years. Today, PGIM Real Estate announced it had made its first investment for its affordable-housing fund backed by Northern LGPS and Brunel Pension Partnership.

“We have seen exponential growth in the real estate industry’s investment in affordable housing in recent years and I know that the industry has the capacity to deliver more,” said Beiley.

“I am grateful to have the support of such a highly experienced committee and together we look forward to working with government to maximise the opportunities that the industry has to deliver much-needed affordable housing at scale.”

Century said: “The pandemic has affected every corner of our lives and had a major impact on what we need from our homes and communities.

“In particular, it has brought into even sharper focus the urgent need to provide stable and affordable homes for millions of households across the country.

“As ever increasingly levels of long-term capital seek to enter, now is the perfect time to be bringing together like-minded housing associations, institutions and advisers who can work with government to help tackle the huge supply, funding and sustainability issues the sector faces.”

Melanie Leech, CEO of the BPF, said: “The real estate industry’s investment plays a significant role in the provision of affordable homes in the UK, yet this is poorly understood and there remain significant opportunities to maximise our industry’s investment into this sector.

“I am delighted Rob and Simon have accepted to lead the charge for our new affordable housing committee. We look forward to working with them to ensure our industry more effectively communicates with the government to unlock future growth in this sector, which will be fundamental to the government’s ambitions to create a housing market that works for everyone.

“Everyone deserves a safe and comfortable place to call home and, while there is no silver bullet to fix the acute challenges facing the UK’s housing market, we will need every housing sector – from homes for sale, buy-to-let, build-to-rent to retirement living, student accommodation and affordable housing – firing on all cylinders.”