Avant Homes targets Central Belt with £200m funding facility

A housebuilder with a growing presence in Scotland has secured an enhanced £200 million bank facility as it looks to speed up its expansion plans.

Avant Homes is seeking to expand its presence in Scotland. Picture: Contributed
Avant Homes is seeking to expand its presence in Scotland. Picture: Contributed

Avant Homes, which has its Scottish head office in Stirling, said the revolving credit facility with lenders including Royal Bank of Scotland will enable it to “significantly” increase new land acquisitions in the Central Belt, north east England, Yorkshire, and the Midlands, as it looks to become a £500m-turnover, 2,000-unit developer.

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Avant said it has 12 sites in Scotland, rising to an “optimum” of 15 to 20 in the next 12 to 24 months, and has already earmarked sites to buy in Glasgow, Newcastle, Sheffield and Nottingham.

The company told The Scotsman that in Glasgow the areas include Barrhead and Bishopton, and it is expanding towards the east of the Central Belt and in Penicuik, while it will have a strategic site in Dundee soon. North of the Border it has about 150 staff directly employed, with another 500 subcontractors on average.

Avant’s ambitions come as it said that it is builidng on the “strong momentum” generated by increasing demand for its homes since the launch of a new strategy following investment from Alchemy Special Opportunities, Avenue Capital and Angelo Gordon in December 2014.

In addition, the company said its investment shows its confidence in the UK’s northern regional economies, and looking at Scotland said the cash injection will help “redress a shortfall in housing stock where the number of homes being built remains just over 36 per cent below pre-recession levels”.

Avant chief executive Colin Lewis commented that the UK government “must do more to support the cities and regions outside of the south east of England to ensure UK plc is as robust and powerful as it can be.

“Balancing UK economic growth will only become a reality if cities and regions in the north of England and across Scotland can create well-connected communities where people want to live. Our new £200m facility means we can enhance the role we already play in achieving this goal by accelerating our building of more much-needed family homes. In addition, this extra financial firepower we now have to invest in land with help us to build more homes in new locations.”

Avant also said it delivered record revenues of £369m in the year to 30 April with 1,636 total completions, up 35 per cent from the prior year.