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Housing association buys up private property manager for £16m

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Housing association buys up private property manager for £16m

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Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities, Legal

Housing associations buys up private property manager for £16m Housing associations buys up private property manager for £16m

A housing association has bought up a private firm managing some 20,000 private sector properties in a deal worth £16m.

Places for People, which manages more than 60,000 homes, said the deal with Touchstone will help it grow its private rented portfolio over the medium term.

It already manages over 3,000 market rented homes and has been operating in the sector for 14 years. It established its Blueroom private rented sector subsidiary in 1999.

The investment comes on the back of housing minister Mark Prisk's call in September for housing associations to be bold when crossing tenures and serving a wider demographic than their traditional customer base.

Places said its strategy for the past 10 years has been to diversify its services so that it offers a range of housing options for everyone. 

Recent figures suggest that the private renting sector is set to expand by 20-23% by 2016 resulting in a need for an additional 1.1 million rental homes.

It's understood the move could see Touchstone - which will keep its existing identity, Board, and governance structures - market Places' private rented sector homes.

Tim Saunders, managing director of Touchstone, said: “We are delighted to be working so closely with an organisation that shares our view of the way the housing market is changing and is so closely aligned with our vision for the high quality services to the private rented sector in the future.  We see that this creates a real base for growth and to provide even better services for our clients.”

David Cowans, group chief executive of Places for People, said: “We have long supported the growth of the private rented sector, alongside other housing options for people and are delighted that we have been able to forge a strong relationship with Touchstone which will create opportunities to grow the private market rented sector as one of the major options available for people’s housing choices in the UK.”

As part of the acquisition, Touchstone will operate as a subsidiary of Places for People. 

National Housing Federation Chief Executive David Orr said: “There is a strong need for high-quality well-managed homes for market rent so it’s great to see Places for People entering this market at a substantial scale through the acquisition of Touchstone.

“With market rents rocketing, house prices rising faster than wages and home ownership beyond the reach of many families, we need to increase the availability of homes for affordable and market rent - and a quality market-rented sector is key to this solution.

“Housing associations already own and manage thousands of homes for market rent and there is a real appetite in the sector to do more. I hope other experienced housing providers are encouraged to take on a bigger role in the market-rented sector and help drive it forward.”

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