The Regulator of Social Housing has published its 2021 Global Accounts today (14 December 2021), a financial overview of the social housing sector for the year ending 31 March 2021.
The report shows that the sector demonstrated a resilient financial performance in the face of testing economic and operating circumstances.
The first part of the year saw the direct impact of the pandemic including lockdowns and the closure of construction sites which resulted in delays to capital investment programmes and a fall in investment in new supply by 20%.
Some major repair programmes were also affected.
However, expenditure on routine repairs was maintained over the year.
Other highlights included the following:
- Despite the challenges, providers’ underlying surplus in the year fell only slightly from £2.7bn to £2.6bn.
- The impact of rent increases returning to CPI +1% from April 2020 was offset by lower sales of properties held for rent and an increase in net finance costs.
- There was limited movement in arrears.
- The housing market remained strong despite closing for a period and income from first tranche shared ownership sales and outright market sales stayed at the same level as 2019/20 at about £0.5bn.
The robust financial performance in the year was backed up by strong liquidity and investor confidence.
The sector agreed the highest level of new facilities recorded in a single year at £15.1bn, and drawn debt increased to £86.3bn.
The sector remains committed to future growth, with capital commitments of £38.7bn (a 5% increase on 2020).
This commitment is reflected in providers’ financial forecasts which show planned increases in investment in energy efficiency and building safety as well as catch-up spend on major repairs.
Fiona MacGregor, Chief Executive of RSH said:
“Despite strong headwinds, housing associations and other private social housing providers responded well during 2020/21 to maintain their financial resilience, attract investment and continue to deliver essential services.
The continuing uncertainty of the pandemic coupled with wider macroeconomic and operational challenges mean providers must maintain their focus on delivering their core purpose and communicating effectively with stakeholders.
It is vitally important that boards and executives manage risks effectively to ensure their continued financial viability and so protect tenants’ homes.”