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Social Housing Sector keeps on building in face of inflationary pressure

Housing Associations have recorded a year of positive financial performance despite the challenges in construction and maintenance costs linked to inflation and cost of living demands - that was the message today as Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations (NIFHA) launched their Sector Global Accounts report at their Annual Finance Conference in the Stormont Hotel in Belfast.

Published annually, the Sector Global Accounts set out the combined financial performance and construction achievements of the 20 housings associations who operate in Northern Ireland.  2022-23 saw Housing Associations exceed the targets for new build starts and completions with construction starting on 1956 homes against a target of 1950 and 1,449 new homes completed against a target of 1,400 homes. An additional 745 new homes were provided through co-ownership schemes.

The total number of homes managed by Housing Associations across Northern Ireland now stands at 59,371 and increase of 2.34% from the previous year.  Turnover for the sector stood at £389m for the year – this was despite an inflationary increase of 8% on underlying costs and ongoing capital markets challenges due to rising interest rates.  3,373 staff are employed directly by Housing Associations with an average staff cost of £31,680.

Launching the report NIHFA Chief Executive Seamus Leheny said: “The last year has been a challenging environment for housing providers, with inflation rises and interest rate pressures having a significant impact on the financing and construction of new developments and assets. Despite these challenges, the resilience of Housing Associations has helped the sector deliver a successful year, exceeding both new start and completion targets to take the total social housing to almost 60,000. The ability of Housing Associations to both borrow and manage their finance independently, while working closely with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive and the Department for Communities, is one of the key reasons why the sector continues to one of the region’s largest house-builders.

“Housing Associations are social enterprises which means all profits are re-invested into the organisations allowing each to prioritise their tenants, housing stock and staff. The sector has considerable economic impact across Northern Ireland, both through construction and asset spend, as well as through the salaries of 3,300 staff directly employed in the sector.

“The positive financial outcomes which we are publishing today are testament to the professional way Housing Associations are managed. Many challenges remain however  including reduced social housing financing from the Department for Communities and we are facing difficult times ahead. Political certainty and introduction multi year budgets would go a long way to helping the sector in the coming months and years,” he added.

Read full Sector Global Accounts 2023

Further information:

Brendan Scott

MW Advocate