Record completions for any housing association ahead of expected drop off in build rate

L&Q completed more than 4,000 homes in 2021/22 in what its chief executive has called a ‘bumper year’ for the housing association giant in terms of development.

The precise numbers are still being calculated, but L&Q confirmed this week it has smashed the 4,000-home mark. This equates to a rise of at least 48% on the 2,699 completed last year in the midst of the pandemic lockdown and will be at least 64% higher than the 2,439 built in 2019/20 pre-pandemic. It is the highest number of homes completed by any housing association in a single financial year, signficantly above the mid-2000s typically built by the largest organisations.

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L&Q and Countryside’s 223-home Dollis Valley project in Barnet, north London

The £1bn-turnover L&Q is also expected to build a high number of homes in 2022/23, and is forecasting nearly 5,000 completions. Annual development levels are then expected to drop back down to 3,000 homes from 2023/24 onwards.

Fiona Fletcher-Smith, chief executive, said: “This year is a bumper year for us, it’s the most we have ever done.”

Fletcher-Smith said the increase was due to more homes being started at a time when L&Q was attempting to ramp up development to build 100,000 homes over 10 years.

However this ambition was dropped last year as L&Q, in common with many other large associations, decided to focus more on investing in improving existing stock.The organization is now planning to build out its 32,000- home pipeline over a 10-year period.

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Speaking about the high numbers this year, Fletcher Smith said: “It’s just the way the programme lands. Development takes time and these schemes date from when we were aiming for 10,000 per year.

“We expected this year and next year to peak but then we will settle down to around 3,000.”

Around six in 10 of the homes completed in 2021/22 are for affordable tenures with the rest for market sale.

L&Q also started work on just under 2,000 new homes in 2021/22, down on the 3,818 started the previous year. It expects to start work 3,600 homes in 2022/23. 

L&Q and development partner Countryside last month agreed a deal with Barking & Dagenham council to forward fund homes in a bid to speed up the 3,000-home Beam Park regeneration scheme in east London.