125,000-home provider takes ‘cautious approach” to development spend
Clarion’s completions are down 23% year-on-year, it has revealed.
The 125,000-home housing association, in an unaudited performance update, said it has completed 606 homes in the first half of the financial year. This compares to 785 the year before.
Clarion had previously set a target of 2,161 new homes in 2022/23, meaning it now needs to complete 1,555 units to meet the development ambition set out in the summer in its financial statements.
The association’s investment in new supply remains at around £247m, at a similar level to the same period last year but down 17% on the £296m spent on new homes in the first half of 2020/21.
Clarion said the amount invested in new homes was “lower than previous years due to the continued cautious approach adopted in light of challenging market conditions.”
Clarion’s reported a drop in its operating surplus, which excludes certain one-off costs, of 29% for the half-year, from £150.3m to £106.9m. It said £35m of this was due to lower surplus from disposals, again citing a more “cautious approach” in the current economic climate.
The group’s half-year turnover increased from £480.5m to £485.8m.
The association did however again increase its spend on improving existing homes. It spent £66.1m on improvements in the six months, up from £53m last year.
This follows Clarion increasing its overall spend on maintaining and improving existing homes from £364m in 2021/22 to £397m in 2022/23.
It last year faced criticism over conditions in some of its properties. It featured in an ITV documentary which highlighted issues on its Eastfields estate in Merton. It was hit with a severe maladministration judgement by the Housing Ombudsman in April 2022 for failing to handle complaints adequately and was ordered to pay £2,300 in compensation.
In May the same year it was hit with a second judgement, prompting the ombudsman to investigate if there are systemic failings at the landlord. Neither the ombudsman nor the Regulator of Social Housing found systemic failure at the association.