Hightown, the Hertfordshire-based landlord, which currently owns 5,300 properties, is offering a fixed term investment via the Retail Charity Bond platform with a minimum initial subscription of £500, due to mature in October 2027 with a final legal maturity in October 2029.

Interest on the bonds will be payable on 30th April and 31st October each year, with the first coupon payment due in April 2018.

Hightown became one of the first housing associations to raise significant finance from retail charity investors in 2015, securing £27.5m; see more here.

Retail Charity Bonds is a platform created by social investment charity Allia in association with investment bank Canaccord Genuity, which has also previously issued debt on behalf of Golden Lane Housing and Greensleeves Homes Trust.

David Bogle, chief executive of Hightown, said: ‘This bond offers an ethical investment, a chance for everyone to invest in our mission to deliver much-needed affordable homes for the region.’ At the end of 2016/17, the landlord had an annual turnover of £63m and total fixed assets of £531m.

In May, it secured a 13-year loan of £45m from M&G Investments to help it build 1,200 homes in the next two years.

Hightown Housing Association Limited (the “Charity”) was incorporated on 19 July 1967 as Hightown Housing Society

The Charity is the result of a number of mergers of small housing associations from west Hertfordshire which had been formed in the late 1960s and early 1970s to help address the homeless and affordable housing problems of that era – problems that had been highlighted by the ‘Cathy Come Home’ television drama/ documentary.

The principal mergers were between Hightown Housing Association from Hemel Hempstead and Praetorian Housing Association from St. Albans in 1995, and between Hightown Praetorian Housing Association and St. Albans and District Churches Housing Association in 2003.

The Charity has grown considerably since 2003, largely as a result of an active, new-build development programme, but the Charity has always been a provider of care and support to vulnerable people as well as a social landlord.

The Charity currently manages over 5,300 homes and employs about 670 full time equivalent staff. As at 31 March 2017, the Charity had an annual turnover of £63 million and total fixed assets of £531 million.

The Charity aims to be an excellent provider and manager of housing and support services and to develop high quality new homes to meet the urgent need for additional affordable housing.

The Charity has three main functional activities:

• It is a social landlord managing over 5,300 units of housing of which 3,254 are affordable homes for rent, 541 are supported housing units, 659 are homes for shared ownership, 717 are leasehold homes, 195 are managed for other entities, eight are nursing bed spaces and 12 are held for development;

• It is a provider of housing and support to people with support needs including people with learning disabilities and mental health problems, young people and homeless people (supporting approximately 820 service users at any one time and providing over 30,000 hours of support a week); and

• It is an active developer of new affordable housing at a rate of approximately 350 new homes a year although this figure may be subject to significant fluctuation upwards or downwards depending on timings and the usual risks associated with development. At 31 March 2017 it had 906 units under development The Charity will use the proceeds of the issues of the Bonds for general corporate purposes, including, but not limited to, the development of new social housing stock

Documents relating to the offer

See the information booklet here

See the prospectus here

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