John Hunter to build new homes in London


Tuesday 6th July 2010

John Hunter, a highly influential London-based new homes developer, is planning a return to the sector with a £400m development company.

The London new homes developer, who was behind the construction of major projects such as the Bromptons, the listed Chelsea complex, is currently in talks with institutional investors to set up a new £400m debt and equity fund vehicle called Tenhurst. The fund will aim to construct luxury new build home schemes in central London that were previously put on hold.

Despite the boom in luxury property prices in the capital over the past 18 months, developer funding for high-end housing projects is still proving difficult to secure.

Mr Hunter told the Financial Times: "I have counted 20 different opportunities in prime London that are ready to go but have stalled because owners cannot find the finance. They can be acquired for less than half what they were at the peak."

Mr Hunter is now seeking an institutional investor to back a series of five new build home projects to create a large portfolio of properties that could then be sold or floated.

Hunter added: "We are trying to do a simultaneous debt and equity raise, with a view that it will be able to be refinanced in the next three to five years. The banks will come back to the market, but we need the firepower now. We are in a market of chronic shortage of prime stock."

The average price of a prime London home has appreciated by over 12% in the past year, according to Savills, the estate agent, owed largely to a shortage of new homes in London and an influx of overseas buyers taking advantage of the weak sterling.