Social housing provider Oaklee agrees €50m debt facility

Oaklee Housing plans to buy 150 residential properties in Ireland for social housing

Social housing provider Oaklee Housing has agreed a €50 million debt-financing agreement with a German lender to advance plans to expand its ownership of residential properties.

An approved housing body, Oaklee agreed the 25-year facility with Norddeutsche Landesbank (Nord/LB) which is secured against a charity subsidiary of Oaklee.

Established in 2001, Oaklee manages 900 social houses, and plans to use the loan to purchase an additional 150 residential properties for social housing throughout Ireland.

"This is one of the most cost-effective long-term finance arrangements ever used in Ireland, and means that we can make public money go further and deliver more," said Sharon Cosgrove, chief executive of Oaklee Housing. "It represents good business for Oaklee, and is a strong vote of confidence in our ability to deliver high quality homes for those in greatest need across Ireland in the years ahead."


Nord/LB senior director John Hanley said the bank was "delighted" to finance this project in an effort to "establish a new template for the funding of social housing in Ireland".

Oaklee is a charity but has received funding through a special purpose vehicle (SPV) called Acorn. The SPV reduces the risk to the overall charity while still allowing it to benefit from attractive borrowing rates.

“The project with Oaklee is Nord/LB’s first social infrastructure investment in Ireland, and an important step in the development of approved housing bodies financing,” Mr Hanley added.

Oaklee Housing is a member of the Choice Housing Group, one of the largest housing associations in the UK.

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in business