One raises £50m to exploit market downturn in residential sites

A number of entrepreneurial developers are taking advantage of the credit crunch to pick up development sites at bargain prices.

It is understood that one developer, Regeneration Investments, has raised £50m for that purpose. Ken Dytor, the managing director of Regeneration Investments and former chief executive of Urban Catalyst, has raised the money with two financial partners.

According to sources the money comes with explicit instructions to purchase “residential or mixed-use sites and take advantage of the downturn”.

It is not clear who the funders are. Dytor declined to comment on the story.

Land specialist Cofton has been given the go-ahead by Cordea, the investment arm of Savills, to exploit discounted sites. Peter Nelson, the managing director of Cofton, said: “The firm has a fund of £100m to invest in strategic land. We’re in the land buying market – the question is, can you find the opportunities?”

Publicly-owned housebuilders have largely halted their land-buying programmes as they slow their construction output.

Derek Joseph, managing director for Tribal Treasury Services, said a number of developers were waiting in the belief that the market had not reached its bottom. He said: “Others are saying they are waiting six months because the market will have fallen even further by then.”