In the Spotlight with Sarah Dix, Paragon Bank

We spoke with Sarah Dix, relationship director in Paragon Bank’s development finance team, about the issues currently facing the sector and her role supporting developers.

Related topics:  In The Spotlight,  Specialist Lending
Rozi Jones | Editor, Barcadia Media Limited
2nd June 2023
In The Spotlight

FR: What are the challenges currently facing developers?

Developers have faced a challenging environment over recent years, but planning continues to be a consistent issue facing the sector. Though there is widespread agreement that the UK needs to increase housing numbers, the process of getting authorisation remains slow.

FR: What support can a lending partner, such as Paragon, provide to a developer facing challenges?

It is essential for a lending partner to understand and appreciate the challenges that can arise throughout a development. Over recent years we have seen a series of unexpected shocks to the system that have increased costs for developers, and lenders need to be able to respond as part of a pragmatic partnership.

At Paragon, our approach is to build business relationships with our clients and not view them simply as a transaction. We want to develop relationships that are of mutual and long-lasting benefit and we are pleased to provide flexibility when appropriate – including extending facility terms.

FR: Why is it important for developers to secure financing sooner rather than later?

The sooner a developer starts the process of securing financing, the sooner they will have a full understanding of how a financing partner can support them. From gaining insight into costs and the services a financing partner can provide during a project, developers can gain real peace of mind and security from knowing that they will have funds in place.

FR: How can the development finance sector support the environment?

Helping to develop new products is a key part of my role, and I was delighted to work on Paragon’s Green Homes Initiative (GHI) from the original idea right through to making it available to our clients.

The GHI supports SME housebuilders to develop new domestic properties with the highest energy performance standard – who will receive a 50% reduction on loan exit fees on properties with an EPC A Rating, demonstrating the positive impact our sector can have on the environment and energy efficiency.

FR: What do you enjoy most about your role?

It is greatly rewarding to see projects through from an initial conversation with a client to visiting a completed development. With ever increasing demand for quality, affordable homes, it is essential that developers can access the support required to make them available to homebuyers and buy-to-let investors and it is fantastic to be part of a team that makes that happen.

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