Covid hits G15 London home starts

Last year, the G15 group of housing associations in London began work on the lowest number of homes since they started publishing data.
Geeta Nanda, the new chair of the G15.

Last year, the G15 group of housing associations in London began work on the lowest number of homes since they started publishing combined data five years ago, new data reveals.

Members of the group started work on 10,951 homes in 2020/21, a 30% drop on the 15,709 started in 2019/20 and lower than in any year since 2015/16. A G15 spokesperson said, however, that G15 members are forecasting a record number of 17,000 starts in 2021/22 as delayed work gets under way. The numbers include developments built by the group outside the capital as well as in London.

Completions, by contrast, appear to have stood up well in the face of the covid-19 lockdown. Members matched their total number of completed homes in 2019/20, with 11,056 homes handed over. This figure was also higher than for the three financial years between 2015 and 2018, only bettered by the 13,356 reported in 2018/19.

Geeta Nanda, chair of the G15 and chief executive of housing association Metropolitan Thames Valley, said: “The last 18 months have been some of the hardest I can ever recall, especially with the initial site shutdowns that were required, and the challenges social distancing presented on construction sites. With that in mind, to have delivered the second-largest number of new homes in any year since 2015/16 is testimony to the hard work and commitment of our colleagues and partners.” Nanda added, however, that associations are seeing some challenges from shortages of labour and materials, which are contributing to rising construction costs.

She said: “We will continue to work with our contractors and suppliers to mitigate these risks as far as possible, but they do point to longer-term issues that will need addressing, such as ensuring we are training and bringing new people into the construction [sector] at a steady rate.”

Nanda added that G15 members are still set to build 120,000 homes over 10 years.

Image: G15 chief Geeta Nanda, courtesy G15.

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