Savill’s Housing Survey: investment in stock is top priority

The fifth annual Savill's Housing Sector Survey was launched today at Housing 2021 in Manchester. Investing in stock is top priority.
Hallwood House CGI

The fifth annual Savill’s Housing Sector Survey was launched today at Housing 2021 in Manchester, and found that for 85% of housing providers see investing in their stock as their top priority. This is a 29% increase on 2020’s results. Housing providers have also made significant progress in building safety works as they have strongly prioritised this and customer care in the past 12 months.

In addition, respondents – who included senior leaders at housing associations and local authorities across the UK – said tenant support (78%; 60% 2020) and community engagement (64%; 44% 2020) are the leading priorities in 2021.

On building safety, the survey found that 82% of respondents had commenced work on 75-90% of their homes where needed. This reflects a sustained focus in the past three years of the survey, since the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

The survey also explored progress towards the government’s net zero-carbon target of 2050. It found that 61% of respondents plan to hit net zero-carbon for their homes between 2031-2050. Although a quarter of respondents have yet to finalise plans and a third are still to include net zero-carbon costs in their business plans.

Half of respondents said finance is the biggest constraint to hitting net zero-carbon. Housing providers expect the additional funds to come from grant funding (88%), debt finance 52% or green finance 39%.

Helen Collins, Director, Savills Affordable Housing Consultancy, said: “The five years we have been running the Savills Housing Sector Survey have documented an incredible degree of change in the social housing sector. When we launched the survey in 2017 the headlines were dominated by rent cuts, the Grenfell Tower tragedy, development cross-subsidy and Brexit. For-profit providers had yet to emerge in a meaningful way, and decarbonisation of the economy was not government policy.

“Now, in response to new building safety legislation, the COVID-19 pandemic, net zero-carbon by 2050 and the Social Housing White Paper, there is an increased focus on investing in existing homes and helping build more resilient communities, alongside development.”

The survey found that development capacity and desire among respondents remains strong despite safety and energy cost pressures, and the recent trend of increased appetite to work with for-profit housing providers is continuing. In particular housing association respondents said they were keen to explore development joint ventures (39%) and stock management (48%) with for-profits.

Related Posts