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Large landlords see completions fall

Several large housing associations saw their completions fall dramatically in the last financial year, the results of Inside Housing’s builders’ survey have shown.

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Sanctuary Housing and Wheatley Group, which are both usually in the top 10 for completions, fell to 41st and joint 44th respectively in 2016/17, while Genesis dropped out of the list entirely.

In last year’s survey Sanctuary was third, while in the year before that it topped the list.

The 99,000-home housing association completed only 318 homes in 2016/17 compared with 1,414 in 2015/16.

This was roughly in line with the 331 projected completions for 2016/17 it reported in last year’s survey.

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Sanctuary is one of the largest housing associations in the country and the largest organisation outside the top four for completions.

This process is eventually supposed to deliver 3,000 homes a year, but Peter Martin, development director at the landlord, said this could not be achieved immediately, and he was hoping for only 1,500 units from the contractor in the next three or four years.

The intention, however, was that Sanctuary would continue to use private contractors to make up the difference until the in-house contractor was prepared to carry the full burden of its completions.

Wheatley Group, which was placed ninth last year, was the second largest outside the top four.

It completed 298, a fall of 70% from the 983 it reported in last year’s survey. It had projected completions of 474 homes, according to its response last year.

Jackie McIntosh, regeneration manager at Wheatley, said: “There are fewer completions for the year 2016/17 because there’s been a slightly longer lead-in time for acquiring sites, securing statutory consents, securing planning permission, appointing contractors and so on.

“That’s partly due to the huge increase in affordable housebuilding activity across Scotland. However, our development activity is actually increasing. In 2017/18, Wheatley will have 1,000 homes on site – our highest ever number.

“Wheatley will be completing more than 1,000 homes in each of the next two years.”

In May of last year, Inside Housing reported that Wheatley intended to develop homes through an in-house contractor.

Peter Martin, Sanctuary’s group director for development, said: “2016/17 is an early stage of a new development cycle for Sanctuary Group, with the focus being on the identification and purchase of sites.

“Our development programme is currently at the level forecast in our business plan and moving forward it will expand year on year towards meeting our target of building over 30,000 much needed homes by 2027.”

London-based Genesis dropped out of the top 50 entirely last year with 192 completions, having finished 18th in last year’s table with 631 completions.

“The completion figure was entirely a cyclical thing,” Jeremy Stibbe, executive director of assets and investment told Inside Housing. “Development ebbs and flows, [but we] are committed to growth and to building new homes.”

Mr Stibbe said Genesis is on site with more 2,500 units currently, but “because they are larger schemes” these will take longer to complete.

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