Housing association Aster Group announces another year of major investment as it reports a rise in revenues and profits in its last financial year.
The group plans to invest £55m during the 2019/20 financial year in improving its 30,000-strong portfolio of homes across the south of England, continuing record investment in its estate.
The announcement comes as Aster reveals another strong set of results for the year to the end of March 2019, with turnover increasing to £212m (2018: £205m). During the same period, pre-tax profit rose to £55m (2018: £50m).
Good financial performance last year allowed Aster to spend £52.5m on renovations, repairs and maintenance of its current homes. The housing association plans to maintain that level of investment over the next 12 months.
The group completed 1,156 homes last year, including 453 for shared ownership – its highest annual total to date – and 600 for social and affordable rent.
Aster confirmed it plans to build another 1,100 new homes in the 2019/20 financial year.
Aster builds a variety of affordable homes through different models, including its own land-led schemes and Section 106 developments in conjunction with housebuilders. It builds homes for sale through three joint venture (JV) arrangements with Galliford Try Partnerships and also delivers more units through community land trusts (CLTs). Almost 100 of the homes Aster built in 2018/19 were via JVs, while a further 80 came from its land-led programme and 28 homes were delivered via CLTs.
Bjorn Howard, group CEO of Aster Group, said: “We recognise that investment in maintaining and improving our homes, continuing to invest in health and safety, our colleague offer and customer experience are equally as important as playing our part in delivering the variety and volume of homes the UK needs. Continuing strong financial performance and our not-for-dividend model are why we’re now able to embark on one of our biggest ever years of investment.
“We’re entering a crucial period for the UK and for housing specifically. The need for good-quality, affordable homes has rarely been greater and the decisions we make now on how to address the housing challenges we face, will have an impact for years to come.”
Aster Group has a G1 governance rating and a V1 viability rating from the Regulator of Social Housing along with an A+ credit rating from Standard & Poor’s. Earlier this year it was one of a group of housing associations that helped launch MORhomes, a pioneering vehicle set up as a new sector borrowing platform designed to support a commitment to the development of affordable homes in the UK’s social housing sector.
Bjorn Howard added: “Strong governance and sound financial management remains at the heart of all we do. We’re proud to be regarded as one of the sector’s most progressive housing associations and are focused on being at the forefront of new ideas, technology and innovation.
“Looking ahead, we’re confident we have the platform to continue our work in boosting the supply of high-quality affordable housing across the south of England. In this regard, choice is as important as supply, which is why our development pipeline includes homes in a range of tenures including social rent, affordable rent and shared ownership.”