Aster Group builds over 1,000 homes in a year

Housing association Aster Group has built more than 1,000 homes in 12 months for the second year running, giving almost 3,000 people access to new affordable housing.

The Group invested over £210m and completed 1,067 houses in the year to the end of March 2020, despite development coming to a halt in the final weeks as building sites across the UK closed due to the impact of COVID-19.

During the course of the year, Aster completed 955 affordable homes, comprising 524 for social and affordable rent and 431 for shared ownership. The remaining 112 were built for open market sale.

Aster said that the majority of its development partners have now begun a phased reopening of sites, in line with government safety guidance, but that it is still too early to forecast how COVID-19 will affect the number of homes the Group builds in its current financial year.

Amanda Williams, Group development director at Aster Group, said: “Despite the impact of Covid-19 towards the end of the financial year, our development programme delivered strong results, including our highest ever sales of shared ownership homes.

We’re yet to see the full impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on construction and how many homes this allows the housing sector to build over the next 12 months. Nevertheless, even as we navigate these challenges, our strategy remains unchanged and our goal is the same – to build more homes every year and provide as many people as possible with safe, secure, affordable, good-quality housing.

“With a robust pipeline in place, our focus now is on how we can take our development programme back to full capacity as soon as it is safe to do so and we stand ready to continue to play our role in delivering the homes this country needs. A fundamental element of our approach over the next 18 months will be to build new partnerships and further leverage those we have in place already, be that with other housing associations, community groups, housebuilders or local authorities. It’s our firm belief that much wider collaboration within the housing sector is essential to navigating the challenging waters ahead.”

Aster, which contracted 38 new housing schemes in the past financial year, has a mixed delivery strategy that means it doesn’t rely solely on Section 106 programmes. It built 112 properties via its joint venture with Galliford Try Partnerships, now part of Vistry Homes, 25 through Community Land Trusts (CLTs) – nine at Appledore and 16 at Chagford - and more than 500 through its own land-led programme.

Aster completed 1,156 new homes in the year to March 2019, a period in which it generated revenues of £212m.

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