Housing associations built more homes in 2019/20 than in the previous four years – boosting employment and the economy

Tristan Carlyon, 10 December 2020

Prior to the impact of coronavirus, our members achieved the highest number of new homes completions, and started building the highest number of homes of social rent, since we began collecting this data. The effects of the pandemic will clearly affect these figures for the current year, but it’s encouraging to see housing associations attain this level of delivery in 2019/20.

We have recently finished collecting data on our members’ development activity in the financial year 2019/20. This data would normally have been published in the summer, but for obvious reasons we paused the collection process this year while our members concentrated on their response to the first lockdown.

The picture the completed data paints is a positive one, showing our members completing more than 46,700 new homes in the twelve months to the end of March 2020 – the highest total since we started collecting this data four years ago. Starts were also at a high, totalling more than 53,500 in the year. Within this, starts of homes for social rent topped 6,000 for the first time.

As we know, investment in social housing doesn’t just provide much-needed homes, it also has a beneficial impact on the economy and on employment. We estimate that the construction of these 46,753 new homes will have directly added more than £2.5bn to the national economy, supporting more than 44,600 full-time jobs.

However, this is very much a pre-pandemic picture, with the first lockdown only starting in the last couple of weeks of the period covered. As we approach 2021, the pandemic continues, and its impact will be felt for a long time yet.

We are currently collecting development data on the first quarter of this financial year – the months April to June 2020. We know that this quarter will show significantly lower levels of activity than usual due to the restrictions that were in place at the time, and the shifting priorities of housing associations. But it’s imperative that we collect this data so that we as a sector can fully understand and illustrate the impact of this unprecedented upheaval. Just as importantly, doing so will also enable us to demonstrate our ongoing collective contribution to the process of national recovery.

So if your organisation has not yet submitted its data please do so by 18 December – please get in touch if you have any questions about how to do this.