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Manchester gets new housing investment fund

An innovative new investment fund has been established to speed up the rate of housebuilding in Manchester.A new joint venture project between Manchester City Council, Greater Manchester Pension Fund (GMPF) and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) has been set up to increase the rate of construction in the city. Matrix Homes will utilise land owned by Manchester City Council, including a site invested by the HCA, while an investor finances the build. In this case, the investor will be the GMPF.In addition to stimulating house building, the model is intended to reduce the usual risks associated with a development. Contractors' overheads will be minimised and they will have no sales risks.Wates Living Space is to build the homes, with GVA providing technical advice. Plumlife will be responsible for sales and marketing, while Places for People will act as agent and manage the rental properties.Councillor Nigel Murphy, Manchester City Council's executive member for housing and regeneration, said: "This is a momentous day and a hugely significant milestone in what has been an innovative and ambitious approach to home building - and the joint venture company, Matrix Homes, is the end product of a huge amount of work that has made sure the project is viable."He added that he hopes the fund will be able to provide a model for larger building schemes in the future.A tenure mix has been developed across five different sites to ensure the projects meet the requirements of the local area - including owner-occupation and private rental properties.Work on the first sites is due to commence in May, with Pozzoni acting as architects for the development.Councillor Kieran Quinn, chair of the GMPF, said the innovative finance model would help to address the supply problems currently being experienced in Manchester, where the rate of housebuilding has failed to keep pace with demand.He said he is "proud" that the fund is helping to provide much-needed homes while delivering a return on its members' pensions. 

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