The social housing sector remains attractive to lenders with 92% of registered providers having debt facilities in place for the next 12 months or more, according to the latest quarterly survey (2014 to 2015 quarter 2) published by the Homes and Communities Agency today.
As the regulator of social housing providers, the HCA undertakes a quarterly survey of housing providers to establish the levels of exposure to a range of risks faced by the sector. This report is based on a survey of all private registered providers owning and/or managing more than 1,000 homes for the quarter ending 30 September 2014.
The report concludes that new finance continues to be raised with 51% of the £1.7 billion new facilities in the quarter coming from the capital markets; while a significant amount of cash is available to the sector to cover operating and development costs. However, individual providers and their boards should balance the risks of ensuring the availability of funds against the risk and costs of holding surplus cash.
Jonathan Walters, Deputy Director of Strategy and Performance, said:
As in previous quarters, our survey shows that the sector remains financially strong and is an attractive investment opportunity.
However, challenges remain. It is vital that boards continue to understand the risks associated with their business – including managing development and sales programmes – and have the skills necessary to manage those risks. Where they seek appropriate professional advice, they should be capable of understanding and critically appraising the advice they receive.
The regulator will continue to monitor providers to help ensure they effectively mitigate any downside risks to their financial position.
For the third consecutive quarter, the latest quarterly survey includes data on income collection, arrears and voids and concludes that for most providers (94%) these areas are within, or outperforming, their business plans.
The regulator’s quarterly survey is available to download from GOV.UK.