Registered provider says drop in new home delivery part of transition ot new development model

Housing association Accent Group saw its new home completions slump by more than 85% in the last year as it moved to a new land-led development model.

The 20,000-home housing association, which recently called off a planned merger with PA Housing, said the value of new homes completed in the year to March 2021 dropped to just £3, compared to £23.5m in 2020.

Accent Group Image 2 A.SMY_AccentGFulbourn607

New homes by Accent Group

However, the group, which said it started work on 359 homes in the year, insisted the fall-off in new supply was just a transitional issue as it moves to an in-house development model. Accent did not give a specific number for the amount of homes completed in the year, but given other activities, the lack of development meant the number of homes owned by the association actually dropped from 20,721 to 20,448.

The Northern, Midlands and South east housing association said in its financial report: “This reduction [in completions] was expected as the development programme moves away from S106 and “off the shelf” units towards land led delivery with longer completion profiles.”

The organisation has a target to build 400 homes a year by 2024, and said it expected to deliver 200 completions in the current financial year already underway.

Chief executive Paul Dolan said Accent will start work on 600 homes in the current financial year as its land-led development programme, commenced in 2017/18, began to bear fruit. The firm has more than £160m of capital committed to its development programme, of which around £100m is contracted.

However, this year’s drop in output meant the size of the registered provider’s development programme relative to its stock was just 0.16%, against a housing association average of almost 2%.

The figures on development came as the organisation reported turnover of £103m, generating a surplus for the year of £16m.

Paul Dolan said: “2020 has certainly been a year of fundamental change, but our adaptability and innovative approach to service delivery will not end when the restrictions do.

“Our new corporate strategy outlines our plans to deliver quality homes, sustainable communities, […] and we will look at every new opportunity to do that.”