Housing association sector to help affordable home shortages

Key findings from the survey include:

Despite the tightening of global credit markets, the housing association sector continues to enjoy strong access to finance, with £5.0 billion of the £5.3 billion debt needed over the next 12 months already in place and £14.6 billion of funding in place.

The number of unsold shared-ownership homes peaked during the last quarter – partly because nearly 4000 homes built for shared-ownership were converted to rented social housing, often with the help of grants from the Homes and Communities Agency.

In the last quarter the sector also sold 3868 homes, generating £272million.

Chief Executive Peter Marsh said with the ongoing problems in international credit markets and the continued slowdown in the UK residential property market, housing associations were facing the most challenging times known to the sector.

Some associations were reducing their costs and exploring mergers and other partnerships to help them cope with these challenges, he said.

“Demand for affordable homes remains high – a fact recognised by the Government’s £8.4billion three-year investment programme,” Peter Marsh said.

“Building homes through housing associations remains one of the strongest – if not the strongest – public private partnerships in the UK construction market.

“Unlike private developers who only build homes for sale, the core business of housing associations is building homes for rent.

“I welcome the steps taken so far by the Homes and Communities Agency to provide additional funding to housing associations. We have seen in some cases grant rates from the HCA for social rented homes increasing to reflect the reduction of shared-ownership profits.

“We are working closely with the HCA to ensure that extra funding for housing associations is targeted to help the 4.5 million people most in need.

“These discussions are essential to make sure housing associations boards have the confidence they need to help meet England’s housing needs – with associations matching public investment with private funds pound-for-pound.

“With social housing waiting lists rising by the week, demand for affordable homes for rent is at an all-time high. This survey shows housing associations are well placed to continue to build the new homes that England needs.”

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