36,000-home housing association posts lower surplus as former Wates executive takes over as chair

Aster Group has completed 533 homes in the first six months of the year.

The 36,000-home association, in a trading update, said it is on track to hit its target of building 1,160 homes in the financial year.

The 533 homes completed represents a drop of 22% on the 685 completed in the same period the previous year, while the 1,160 figure will be down on the 1,300 homes delivered in 2021/22.


Former Wates Group executive Steve Trusler has taken over as chair of Aster

Aster said development has been hit by planning delays, including nutrient neutrality hold ups, and slowdown in sales.

The group’s half-year surplus fell 24%, from £30.8m to £23.3m, while its operating margin fell 21.3% to 18.8%. Aster said its operating profit is “in line with budget” despite dropping from £30.8m to £23.3m.

Aster’s shared ownership first tranche sale income was £28m, down on the £30.3m posted the previous year. It said shared ownership sales “continue to perform well, given current market conditions” and is tracking to budget.

Its operating margin was 18.8%, which was down on the 21.3% for the same period last year but up on the 15.8% for the last financial year.

It said it has investing in stock following a stock condition survey and has also invested in Enham Trus, the care provider it acquired in October 2022.

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Aster has also announced the appointment of former Wates Group executive Steve Trusler as chair. Trusler took over the hotseat on 3 November, replacing former Housing Ombudsman Mike Biles who is stepping down due to reaching the maximum term permitted.

A spokesperson said: “There has been a strong start to the year with 45% of homes completed at this mid-point of the financial year, having completed on our first affordable homes funded through the Homes England Strategic Partnership programme.

“Renegotiation of our Strategic Partnership delivery has concluded resulting with an increase of grant totalling £127m to deliver 1,500 affordable homes up to March 2028.”

“Development delivery continues to be challenged through planning delays including water neutrality solutions and a slow-down in build on housebuilder sites to reflect sales.”