Ashford council's property company trebles portfolio by buying 74 flats

A property company set up by Ashford Borough Council has struck multi-million pound deals to treble its portfolio of homes to rent.

A Better Choice for Property, established in 2014, has confirmed it is to buy 74 flats in Ashford town centre.

In January, the company appointed Keith Hollidge as commercial development manager with the aim of building a portfolio of 400-500 properties over the next couple of years.

La Scierie in Ashford (2092491)
La Scierie in Ashford (2092491)

The deals swell the company’s property portfolio to 98 and it says it is actively looking for more across the borough, especially new build flats and houses. Blocks of one and two bedroom flats and also two and three bedroom houses are being sought.

The three latest deals include the off-plan purchase of 31 apartments at the corner of George Street and Victoria Crescent, off Victoria Way.

Called La Scierie (The Saw Mill), the block has been built by Ingleton Luxury Homes on the site of the former Travis Perkins saw mill.

Victoria Crescent in Ashford (2092493)
Victoria Crescent in Ashford (2092493)

The apartments are nearing completion and consist of 10 two bedroom and 21 one bedroom flats.

It has also purchased off-plan 28 flats in Victoria Crescent, on another former Travis Perkins site on the opposite side of the road from La Scierie, from Leath Park Developments. Construction is underway on 14 one bedroom and 14 two bedroom flats, with work expected to be completed by February 2019.

And, finally, it has purchased 15 flats in North Street from the Greenlight Group, comprising 12 one bedroom and three two bedroom flats. The first tenants moved in the day after completion this month and 12 of the 15 properties in the former Barclays Bank are already let.

An agency will be appointed soon to handle the lettings for La Scierie, which is due to be completed in July.

Darren Welch, managing director of Leath Park Developments said: “This is another example of the council’s proactive approach to providing housing in the area and we’ve enjoyed working with its team to deliver these apartments at Victoria Crescent.”

A Better Choice for Property effectively operates as a buy-to-let investment company, targeting people in work in Ashford who can afford to rent.

They are given one-year tenancies that can then be extended by further yearly increments or on a monthly rolling contract, affording flexibility to the tenants, while enabling communities to develop.

The property company has grown a portfolio of one, two, three and four bedroom homes across the borough, ranging from flats to detached houses. The company paid interest to the council of £167,646 in the 2017-18 financial year. This money has been put towards the provision of services across the borough.

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