Funders tour Birmingham estates ahead of transfer

12 Jul 01
Birmingham City Council is setting a precedent in housing transfers by asking lenders to underwrite loans worth £1bn before it consults tenants over the move.

13 July 2001

Normally councils ballot tenants before they ask financial institutions to provide support. But the sheer size of Birmingham's proposed transfer to registered social landlords – a record 84,000 homes – has led it to approach funders earlier.

Lenders will be asked to underwrite the loans from next January, two months before the ballot is due. The council is proposing to transfer the properties to a group of ten community landlords.

Eventually, Birmingham is expected to need to raise £3bn – far in excess of the £220m raised by Sunderland Borough Council when it transferred more than 36,000 homes earlier this year.

A spokesman for the group set up to oversee the transfer in Birmingham said funders had already been on a tour of estates to view the houses. 'Birmingham is doing all its projections in a somewhat unusual way,' he added. 'That is probably because of the scale of the thing.'

Birmingham was left out of the government's two-year transfer programme announced last month. Housing minister Sally Keeble said a place was being held open for the local authority, pending agreement over a minimum valuation for the homes.

Meanwhile, Newport Borough Council has completed the first stock transfer to a newly formed social landlord in Wales after switching 550 defective pre-fabricated properties to Newport Housing Trust.


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