Global Accounts of housing associations 2016 – five things we now know

Global Accounts were released last week, here are five things we now know.

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  1. Tenant payments smashed through the £100 per week barrier

Combined rents and service charges have gone up to £101 per week on average. That’s a 3.7% hike from last year. Of course the rent cut will push this down a bit in the years to come. But how many of us thought we would get over the £100 a week mark? In some parts of the country rents in the PRS are lower than for social housing. That is a worry.

  1. We are building fewer homes

While rents were going up, housebuilding went the other way. How many social housing homes did we build? Well we got the number of homes up to 42,000.  What does that look like in context? It’s a cut of 10% from the year before.  And don’t forget we knocked down or sold off 18,000 homes. All in all a year to forget. Will the White Paper get us on the right track? Time will tell.

  1. Housing associations pay a heavy price for their principles

Over £40m was lost on the costs of support services. It was the same story in other areas. Associations run lots of services to help local people.  These can do many good things like getting folk into work. But they do lose money. Will associations keep on footing the bill for things like this? Is it fair that tenants in effect pay an extra tax to prop up care services?

  1. VfM – Lord make me pure but not yet!

On the face of it management costs went up by a whacking 6.7%! Don’t panic. It might not be quite as bad as it seems. The rules for working out the figures moved about a bit. And some are spending now to save later. Well that’s our story. But we can expect intense scrutiny here. The Daily Mail will be door stepping our chiefs to get the answers. So wash those nets now.

  1. So far, so good on sales

All the figures on sales were stonking. Surpluses on sales soared up by >40%. And margins got better too. What’s not to like? Well this was before Brexit and the increase in stamp duty seems to be biting hard now. So sales could stall or fall. On the other hand they could go up and up. Yes you could say it’s a risky business. A world away from the old trade of rationing low cost rented housing. We will see how it goes.

While homes for sale were flying what was it like in other trading? Not so good. Profits fell heavily. Diversification is not turning out to be such an easy act to pull off. But you do need to bring in money from somewhere. That’s at the heart of many business plans.

 

What happens next?

You need to explain how your costs compare to others in your VfM statement. Our HFx network has put all the data into a simple to use spreadsheet to help you do this. It is going out to members now.  Contact Michael.foster@hqnetwork.co.uk for details.

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