Places for People Group enters student accommodation market with Derwent Living acquisition
Places for People Group has completed its acquisition of housing provider Derwent Living in a merger that is said to make the group one of the UK’s largest property management businesses.
Derwent Living owns and manages around 30,000 properties through its affordable and commercial businesses, bringing Places for People’s overall portfolio to more than 182,000 homes across the country.
It has joined the group as a subsidiary, but will maintain its own independent identity, local offices, management team and operational structure.
Derwent Living is the third independent housing association to benefit from a successful integration into the Places for People Group, after Castle Rock Edinvar joined the Group in 2005, followed by East Anglia-based Cotman Housing Association in 2009.
The merger is expected to enable Derwent Living to improve its supply of new homes over the coming years, increase its financial potential to deliver new products, and significantly enhance services through “access to new expertise on offer” as part of Places for People.
Furthermore, the merger grants Places for People an “established foothold” in the student housing market, as well as a new operational base in the East Midlands.
Places for People’s group chief executive, David Cowans, and group chairman, Chris Phillips, have both been appointed to the Derwent Living board.
“For more than 50 years, Derwent Living has been providing homes for people across the Midlands and beyond, with a clear focus on affordability, and delivering a range of housing tenures to meet local need,” said Peter McCormack, Derwent Living’s chief executive.
“The opportunity to enhance and expand our services in partnership with such a pioneering housing provider was truly unmissable. We are genuinely excited about the future for Derwent Living, with the additional expertise and financial power on offer as a member of the Places for People Group.
“Joining Places for People offers our staff and customers the best of both worlds; allowing our services and identity to remain tailored to our local communities, while benefitting from the financial security, economies of scale and opportunities that come from being part of a larger organisation.”
David Cowans, Group chief executive at Places for People, added: “From the outset of our discussions, it became clear that one of Derwent Living’s greatest assets was its people and their working culture – which shares many similarities with our own. We look forward to welcoming the knowledge and expertise of Derwent Living’s employees to Group projects across the UK.
“Student housing represented the last significant area of the housing market in which Places for People was not playing a major role. Gaining a partner with such a strong reputation in this area has completed the jigsaw, allowing us to offer tailored accommodation to people at all stages of their lives.
“The addition of Derwent Living will not only provide a new operational base in the East Midlands, it will also enable the Group to rationalise its housing stock in the region, in order to deliver greater efficiencies that ultimately improves local services.”