Statistical Data Return shows an increase in housing stock

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The annual release of the Regulator of Social Housing’s (RSH), Statistical Data Return (SDR), was published on the 19th September 2019, and within it was a series of key findings about the current state of the social housing sector.

Key to note is that the data that forms the basis of the SDR, is collated from the annual returns submitted by private registered providers (PRPs), across social housing in England, with 1,409 providers contributing to this year’s results. However, where this year’s findings differ to previous, is that the RSH is releasing the SDR results in a three phased approach over the next few weeks, with them concluding on 10th October 2019.

What has caused this change?

The changes to the way in which the results are released follows a call for user views between May and July 2019, regarding proposals that will see the publication of the data released more timely, and made more accessible to users.

With the next two releases soon to be unveiled by the RSH, it means that the sector can digest the first report, which details all things social housing stock related, as well as looking into the changes to stock owned in the sector since 2012.

What are the key findings within the release?

PRPs have increased the amount of housing stock that they own.

For the second year in a row PRPs have increased the amount of housing stock that they own. A 2% increase in fact since 31st March 2018. This rise sees the number of units and bedspaces increase from 2,812,320 to 2,995,569 units – an increment of 183,249 from 2018-2019, compared to just 31,015 during 2017-2018.

This is a considerable level of growth, especially during a one-year period, which begs the question, what is this rise down to?

Ultimately, it is the result of increased Government funding that has been made available, through programmes such as the Shared Ownership and Affordable Housing Programme (SOAHP), and the Greater London Authority’s Affordable Housing Programme (AHP). And yet, despite this increase more still needs to be done if the government is to meet its yearly 300,000 new home target.

Increases in Social and Affordable rented properties

Along with increases in housing stock, the SDR findings also detail that 85% of the entire stock amongst registered providers (RPs), was classed as low-cost rental stock – 2,567,063. A figure that is 1% up on the previous year. The addition of the 20,900 low-cost rental stock, was primarily driven as the RSH points out, because of an 11% increase in affordable rent units compared to 2018.

However, when we take a closer look at the affordable rent findings in England alone, it is interesting to see that stock levels have risen by over 3,221% since 2012 – with 236,888 units being built since 2012, where the figure was at 7,354.

What can this increase be down to? A whole host of factors, but primarily it is because of prevailing policies, and increased levels of funding for the specific development of affordable rented properties.

Increases in low-cost home ownership units

Further to this, an additional 11,299 units/bedspaces of low-cost home ownership (LCHO) were reported by PRPs, an increase of 6% on 2018. However, given the rate in which LCHO has been increasing since 2012, rising by 61% over a five year period, this increase comes as no surprise. Especially when considering the increased focus on home ownership development and the funding streams associated with it, e.g. SOAHP.

What more can we expect in the upcoming releases?

2018 and 2019 has been a turbulent time for the social housing sector. We have continued to see significant changes dominate the sector, including an uncertain political landscape, new housing policies being introduced, and a wave of new organisational mergers in an attempt to increase efficiency and value for money improvements across the sector.

In the meantime, take a look at how we can help you…

At Pennington Choices, we offer registered providers a range of advice relating to their housing and management issues, and having worked for over 19 years, delivering projects to social housing landlords nationally, we have significant consulting experience. For more information on how we help your organisation, or to have a chat about the findings of the SDR, get in touch with our Head of Consultancy, Sarah Davies, by clicking here.

To read the full release, click here

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