Social housing provider Radius has secured £105 million in investment from a range of UK and US investors to help it build hundreds of new affordable houses across Northern Ireland.
And the move will allow Radius, which was formed in 2017 following the merger of Fold and Helm housing associations, to revise up its initial target of constructing 400 new homes each year.
Radius is the first social housing provider in Northern Ireland to secure a private placement investment of this scale.
It already supports 33,000 households through its housing and a range of complementary housing, care and support services.
But it believes the £105m funds injection gives it the financial clout to significantly expand its development programme.
Private placement is a means of raising finance via investors with long term repayments, and the transaction is expected to provide funds in 2020, subject to satisfactory completion of due diligence.
The announcement follows Radius visiting London and North America in September, where it presented its development plans to a range of investors.
In July Radius was graded 'A1 stable' by international credit ratings agency Moody's - the highest rating it gave to any housing association in the UK.
John McLean, chief executive of Radius Housing, which has a turnover of £90m and employs 1,000 staff across Northern Ireland, said: “We're delighted by the confidence shown by international investors in our development ambitions and the strength of our governance.
“American and UK investors responded positively to our vision and plans for growth through the construction of new social and affordable housing. There was a recognition that the social housing sector has consistently delivered against targets and that we operate in an effective regulatory environment. Crucially they saw that, as an industry leader, Radius is best placed to grow further.
“With this £105m, we are now in a strong position to develop even more new social housing projects in areas of high need.
“It will also be a welcome boost for the local construction sector at a time when we there is considerable uncertainty, because social housing construction is one of the most important aspects of the building sector.”
Alan Thomson, director of finance at Radius Housing, added: “Choosing to seek investors through private placement has given us an opportunity to secure a deal which supports our development goals by giving a longer repayment term at very competitive rates.
“Securing a Moody's rating was particularly important given this was Northern Ireland's first social housing placement. With the support of Barclays and our treasury advisers JCRA, we were able to articulate the strengths of Radius, which is the first social housing provider to seek funding through private placement of this magnitude.”