Social housing sector continues to demonstrate resilience

The TSA’s latest quarterly survey of housing associations (April-June 2010) shows that almost £1 billion of new loan facilities were arranged in the quarter, with a further £400 million in the pipeline. Just under ten per cent of these new loan facilities were in the form of bond issues, demonstrating that the sector continues to be an attractive investment to both banks and institutional investors.

Other key findings from the survey are:

•The sector has 97% of the forecast funding required over the coming 12 months in place
•The number of unsold low-cost home ownership homes has decreased for the seventh successive quarter. However two thirds of these homes remained unsold for over three months, suggesting that although sales continue to take place, it is at a slower rate
•There was a slight reduction in the value of asset sales achieved in the quarter compared to the April survey. However the total value of sales achieved in the last 12 months is £1.7 billion, which continues to compare favourably to the £1.3 billion projected sales over the coming 12 months
•There has been a slight increase in the impairment charge reported which has risen from £113 million reported in April to £121 million in July.
The latest publication also outlines a number of the key challenges for the sector, including exposure to the housing market due to the lack of availability of mortgages for potential buyers, impacting on the number of sales.

The TSA’s Interim Director of Regulatory Integration Jonathan Walters said, “Housing providers are going through tough times like everyone else at the moment, but the sector has proved remarkably robust. It remains an attractive investment to the banks and bond markets who have lent them a further £1 billion in the last quarter.

“The survey also reflects that the housing market remains uncertain and how restrictive credit conditions are promoting a more cautious attitude to borrowing.  However, the sector has continued to develop new social housing and make low-cost home ownership sales, albeit at a slower rate than previously.

“We believe that the sector will continue to cope well in managing these challenges and continue to demonstrate its resilience.”

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