108,000-home association pumps more money into improving existing stock amid Ombudsman criticism

L&Q built more than 4,000 homes running for the second successive year but faced a big drop in its surplus due to falling investment property values, write-downs and rising costs.

The 108,000-home association, in its financial statements for the year to 31 March, said it completed 4,047 homes in the financial year, slightly down on the housing association sector record-breaking performance of 4,157 the previous year.


L&Q’s offices in Stratford, east London

The association also increased its annual starts from 2,103 to 2,760. The completions figure means it has now exceeded a sustainability target of building 8,000 homes between 2019 and 2024.

L&Q however confirmed as previously announced that it intends to reduce its annual development to around 3,000 homes in the coming years as it focuses more spend on existing stock. It said it has paused committing to any new development sites to focus on its £3.1bn development pipeline.

The association’s annual turnover dipped slightly from £1.2bn to £1.1bn. Its surplus however plummeted from £154m to £40m due to investment property values falling £120m and a £40m increase in impairment charges relating to development schemes and joint ventures. 

However, its social housing lettings activities contributed £162m to the group’s operating surplus, down on the £189m posted last year.

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Its operating margin on social housing lettings fell from 31% to 25%, which it said was due to increased costs due to inflation as well as a “conscious decision to invest in reducing the backlog of outstanding repairs jobs and investing in improved standards for customers.”

L&Q, which was criticised for poor customer service by the Housing Ombudsman in July, is planning to invest more in improvements to existing homes over the coming years, and in 2022/23 ramped up spend on current stock from £262m to £347m year-on-year.