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The Database
Updated in October 2020, our list of social housing organisations details over 525 Key Housing Associations, ALMOs, TMOs, etc., accounting for more than 4 million housing units (either owned or managed by housing associations). Where they are part of a group, this is indicated, and there are around a further 30 of these which, whilst they have their own name (and sometimes their own website), the contact details are the same as the group's.

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The database version includes the number of units owned and/or managed per organisation. This may be downloaded in Excel format here page, where entries include named contacts for procurement, addresses, telephone numbers, websites and email addresses. In terms of entries containing named email addresses, in the latest edition the number is 367. Generic email address entries number 156 and 3 are designated 'email via website'. Non-subscribers may purchase the database separately for £65 + VAT by clicking here

Sector Profile and Market
According to an article by Competitive Advantage, many properties managed by social landlords are acquired as a result of Section 106 agreements, in which case they are constructed to a relatively low specification by a private developer. When Housing Associations build their own properties they tend to be to a higher specification, with a focus on minimising operating and maintenance costs. In these cases, development will involve an external architect or may be Design & Build.

Around 76% of market stock owned or managed by housing associations is general needs housing, which is primarily social rental accommodation. In terms of value, the social housing construction market was estimated to be worth around £11.4bn (in 2017) including both new build and RMI activity. According to AMA Research, housing associations accounted for around 60% of social housing stock in 2017-18 and form the largest not-for-profit group in the UK, working closely with both private and public organisations.

In its Supply Conversation Interim Report, The National Housing Federation (NHF) describes the housing need as acute, positing that England alone “… needs to build 340,000 new homes a year, including 145,000 social homes ….”. It underlines the supply deficit by explaining that “…. only 43,000 affordable homes were built in 2017/18.” (Note: social housing provision is a devolved issue in the UK - see Trade Organisations, below, for links to the bodies representing housing organisations in other UK countries.)

Whilst there are many hundreds of social housing organisations (our database includes 540+ entries, but there are many more, smaller enterprises), the vast number of new builds are initiated by the very largest. The journal Inside Housing identified the top 50 developing housing associations and found that they had built 40,681 homes across all tenures in the year 2019/20 – an increase of nearly 7% on the previous year’s figure (whilst not directly a like-for-like comparison, the NHF England stats above help to contextualise this). The investment value of the construction of these homes was estimated at £6.6bn. Looking ahead, Inside Housing points to a number of challenges facing the sector, including the impact of COVID-19 and Brexit, and estimates that the five-year pipeline of the top 50 builders totals 199,387 homes. This is down from last year’s (2019) estimation of nearly 250,000 homes, but, when considering these projections, the journal emphasises the significant levels of uncertainty facing the sector at the time of writing and points out that a number of the largest builders could not provide any, or very limited, data on their future pipelines. Separately, referencing the affordable housing sector in its Construction Industry Forecast (published June 2020), Glenigan explains that ‘… whilst the pandemic has caused a short-term hiatus in starts this year, renewed growth is anticipated from 2021.’ The forecasted year-on-year projections for starts are -35% in 2020, followed by a rebound to 62% in 2021 and then a 5% growth in starts in 2022.

In a Summer 2020 update, entitled Social Housing – 5 Key Facts, AMA Research made a number of points, resulting from its own research, which are worth noting:

  1. Since 2014, UK social / affordable completions have increased year-on-year to an estimated 68,000 in 2019/20. However, the majority of these are affordable rent and shared ownership tenures. Social rent completions in England remain very low at around 6,000 units a year.
  2. In order to address this issue, the removal of the Housing Revenue Account debt cap allows local authorities to borrow money for development without government restrictions. The 5-year local authority development pipeline to 2025 is around 70,000 dwellings, which will mostly be for social rent.
  3. In the 2020 Spring Budget, the government has pledged £12bn funding for the next round of the Affordable Homes programme, which should stimulate growth in housing association starts from 2021.
  4. In order to meet the need for increasing the volume of affordable housing delivered each year, it is anticipated that there will be further use of offsite housing systems to enable faster completions and to counter the chronic decline in skilled trades.
  5. Some of the larger housing associations have committed themselves to increasing their use of offsite housing systems. They are also looking to obtain more control of affordable housing delivery by moving away from the section 106 model towards self-delivery of homes on their own land.

Homes England is the UK Government’s agency set up to deliver housing. Launched in January 2018, the remit is to adopt a more commercial approach to acquiring, preparing, managing and developing land in areas of high demand. The first strategic plan for the period to 2023 was published in October 2018 and outlines significant levels of government support allocated to help facilitate the increased supply of new housing. It can be viewed here

Marketing
Direct promotions, social media and trade shows aside, specific targeting of the sector by construction product and service providers is possible through focused media such as the journals Housing Association Magazine, Inside Housing and Housing Association Building & Maintenance. Details of these, and over 330 other UK construction industry journals, can be found here, including circulation data, and named editorial contacts (with email addresses).

The Chartered Institute of Housing's annual conference is the largest event in the social and affordable housing calendar. At the time of writing, the 2020 edition will be a virtual event and held from 7th-11th September. There will be opportunities to exhibit and a comprehensive of events. Separately, the next Homes UK event expects to welcome 6,000+ attendees, 350+ speakers, and 200+ exhibitors. Also worthy of mention is the National Housing Federation's National Housing Summit - at the time of writing the next edition is scheduled for March 2021. Details of these, and over 280 other UK construction exhibitions, can be found here.

Ocean Media Group, publisher of Inside Housing, also operates HousingExpert.com, a platform offering data on the development pipeline for the housing association sector as well as a range of information on housing association stock and finance.

Trade Organisations
The key representative bodies are:

Community Housing Cymru - http://chcymru.org.uk/
National Federation of Tenant Management Organisations - http://www.nftmo.co.uk/
National Housing Federation - http://www.housing.org.uk/
Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations - http://www.nifha.org/
Scottish Federation of Housing Associations - http://www.sfha.co.uk/

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