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New figures reveal housing associations delivering for Northern Ireland

Published on: 8 November, 2012

Financial Highlights for NI housing association sector:

  • £450m (+15%) in private finance secured to build new homes
  • Turnover for the year 2011/12 was £173m (+2.33%)
  • Net Book Value of Properties under management was £2.85bn (+7.17%)
  • Competitive interest rates on private finance, demonstrating lenders’ confidence

Housing associations in Northern Ireland have now secured £450million of private finance to deliver much-needed social and affordable homes, new figures today (8th November) revealed.

The sector’s global accounts were compiled by PWC and unveiled at the annual conference of the Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations (NIFHA).

In the financial year 2011/12 private investment rose by 15 percent compared to 2010/11 while turnover topped £173m, up 2.33 percent. During this time housing associations leveraged public and private finance deliver more than 2,000 social and affordable homes, employing 2,800 people directly and helping sustain many more jobs in care, construction and maintenance.

The figures follow several recent financing successes for the sector. Last week, Co-ownership Housing agreed £50 million in funding from Barclays and the Bank of Ireland, the biggest single funding deal in the sector’s history. Meanwhile Apex has just secured a £10m facility through Ulster Bank. In October, Oaklee and Apex each raised £20 million at the very competitive rate of 4.99% through a bond issue arranged by The Housing Finance Corporation (THFC). This is one of only nine comparable UK housing association bond issues over the last ten years at an interest rate under 5%.

Cameron Watt, Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations said:

“These figures show that in the midst of a tough lending environment, housing associations are drawing in significantly more funding to meet housing need. The scale of private finance secured at competitive rates confirms that housing associations are Northern Ireland’s biggest and most successful social businesses.

“Increasing private finance enables associations to match and multiply public investment in delivering the Programme for Government target of 8,000 new social and affordable homes by 2015.

“With the sad news of the Patton Group going in to administration this week, it’s important to note the increasing importance of building social housing to our construction sector.”

Housing associations manage 38,000 homes comprising general needs, specialist and supported accommodation. Each year, Co-ownership Housing also supports hundreds of first-time buyers to get their foot on the housing ladder through their successful shared ownership scheme. There are currently more than 20,000 households in housing stress on the waiting list for a social home.

The Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations annual conference is taking place at the La Mon Hotel, Belfast on 8th and 9th November 2012.

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