Southern landlord latest to reveal lower completions than hoped for in 2023/24

Aster Group has completed 997 homes in the 2023/24, missing its development target by 16%.

The 36,000-home association in November said it was on track to hit its target of 1,160 completions in the year. However in its latest trading update it said it has fallen short. The figure of 997 is also down 31% on the 1,312 completions last year.

dorchester brewery

Aster’s planned Brewery Square scheme in Dorchester

It said: “Aster has delivered strong numbers for the twelve months to the end of 31 March 24, even though the number of handovers is lower than the previous year.

“There is a strong forward pipeline in place of both land, community-led development and developer-led schemes, although capacity has plateaued due to the pressures from our operating environment including inflation, interest rates, and investment into existing stock”

Aster reported a 4% increase in annual turnover from £301.2m to £313.8m. Its surplus fell from £55.3m to £41.9m.

This was due largely to a £12.8m gain the previous year due to the acquisition of disability charity Enham Trust. However Aster was also hit with £3.4m in impairment charges and an extra £6m in net financing costs.

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The group’s operating surplus increased from £66.9m to £76.4m.

Aster has become the third registered provider in the space of a few days to confirm lower than expected completions in 2023/24. Great Places last week confirmed it has missed its annual development target by 296 homes, following delays to several schemes. Clarion also said it completed 1,538 homes in the year to 31 March against its original target of 2,161.

A report by insurance giant L&G last year found the capacity of the housing association sector to build new homes dropped by around a third in just over a year due to the increasing cost of borrowing.

Chris Benn, chief financial officer at Aster says the group is “on track” to meet its long-term target of adding an extra 10,000 homes to its portfolio between 2022 and 2030, having delivered 2,300 of these homes so far.

He said: ”Our pipeline for the next 12 months is full and, thanks to continued stable financial performance, we are in a position to invest more than ever over the next two years in building new homes.”

Aster’s full, audited, financial statements will be published in the summer.