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Housing industry shake-up as lenders finance small builders

PUBLISHED: 06:00 30 May 2019 | UPDATED: 11:20 30 May 2019

17 Colegate, which Blend helped to fund. Picture: GoogleMaps

17 Colegate, which Blend helped to fund. Picture: GoogleMaps

GoogleMaps

Norfolk's house building industry is set for a shake-up as a London funding agency has set their sites on backing small and medium house builders in the area.

Norfolk's house building industry is set for a shake-up as a London funding agency has set their sites on backing small and medium house builders in the area.

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The Blend Network is a crowdfunding platform which specialises in backing smaller quantity house builds across the UK.

The affordable-housing focused lender has already seen success in Norwich, having advanced £550,000 for the purchase and redevelopment of guesthouse 17 Colegate Street in the Cathedral quarter.

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Yann Murciano, chief executive of Blend Network, launched the network four years ago in a bid to help the government achieve its goal of building 300,000 homes a year.

He said: "The big developers won't build 150 houses in somewhere like Happisburgh, but the small house builders can't build them either because they can't get access to funding," Mr Murciano explained.

"So by providing that funding an amount like nine homes can be built, it's every little helps as it were," he said.

So far Mr Murciano and have team has loaned around £7m to affordable housing developments in the UK.

"We've identified Norfolk - and East Anglia as a whole - because it has good wages but property prices are relatively high despite this," Mr Murciano said.

Norfolk County Council's pledge to build 73,000 new homes in the region was also a factor contributing to Blend Network wanting to break into the East Anglian region.

"We're hoping that this will also inspire some new businesses," said chief strategy officer Roxana Mohammadian-Molina.

"We'd like to think that skilled, experienced people who have built a lot of houses with big house builders will see this as an opportunity to start their own enterprise and make the most of the funding."

Other projects Blend has supported is advancing £600,000 for the purchase and redevelopment of Crown House in Great Yarmouth.

The site will be turned into residential accommodation of 30 low-cost apartments.

The loan for this site was raised in just three minutes by private lenders - who can contribute as little as £1,000 to the strategy.

Because of its success, Blend is looking to raise a further £800,000 for the site's further development.

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