Aster Group well-placed to deliver more much-needed new homes

Ethical developer and landlord Aster Group has vowed to play its part in tackling the shortage of new housing across the country by pledging to develop 9,500 homes for open market sale, shared ownership and rent by 2023.

The business, which employs over 1,300 people across the South of England, is promising to build around 1,350 homes each year for the next seven years – putting its future production of new homes at the same level as many major regional housebuilders.

Amanda Williams, group development director for Aster, says: “We have been working extensively to re-shape our business, switching our focus to concentrate more than ever on developing new homes.

“Building 9,500 new homes between now and 2023 equates to delivering an average of three new homes every day. We know that may sound ambitious, but setting ourselves this bold target shows just how determined we are to see that enough new homes are built.”

In addition to developing new homes, Aster will also be taking a much more proactive approach to reviewing the future of existing homes, including selling those which are no longer economical to keep.

Amanda says: “We are constantly reviewing our existing housing portfolio to ensure it is performing in the most efficient way. For example, if we identify an ageing property which is coming to the end of its useful life and will be expensive to either maintain or refurbish, we will take a much more commercial approach to deciding its future.

“That could mean selling the property and reinvesting the sale receipt back into our forward development programme, or replacing it with modern new housing – especially if the site can accommodate more than one home.

“Any decisions we take now must also be the correct choices for the future. We have to ensure that we focus on high quality investments which maximise long term sustainability, while at the same time building more homes to help end the housing crisis.”

And while Aster will continue to build homes of all tenures, there will be a greater emphasis on delivering more housing for affordable home ownership.

Amanda says: “We believe it is extremely important that as many people as possible have an opportunity to own their own property. During 2015/16, we sold 200 shared ownership properties and a further 89 for open market sale. This year, we expect that to increase significantly.

“As we are a not-for-dividend company, all of the profit we make from sales will be reinvested into developing more new homes in future, helping us to achieve our ultimate vision – ‘everyone has a home’.”