Government housing quango claims it will meet targets despite number of homes completed falling by a fifth last year


The government’s housing quango has claimed it is on track to meet its affordable housebuilding targets, despite unveiling data this week showing the number of homes it completed dropped by a fifth in the last year.

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), which funds affordable homes outside of London, said 28,558 homes had been completed in the 12 months to 31 March 2013, compared with over 35,000 in 2011/12.

The drop, which comes after the number of homes started collapsed in 2011/12, follows a huge reduction in social housing funding in the 2010 Spending Review and a move to a new model of greater private sector funding.

However, the data showed social housing construction is set to recover this year, as it recorded a boost in housing starts in 2012/13, up by 171% to 26,114.

In total the HCA is responsible for enabling the construction of 123,000 of the 170,000 affordable homes promised by the government between 2011 and 2015.

It says it is 56% of the way through this programme, but given the hiatus in starts in 2011, social housing contractors will be expected to ramp up their construction programmes to hit the target.

Brendan Sarsfield, chief executive of social landlord Family Mosaic, questioned if there would be enough starts between now and September to deliver the required completions by March 2015.

“Whether there will be enough capacity among contractors will also be a major concern in the marketplace,” he said.

The HCA also announced this week that deputy chief executive Richard Hill is to leave the body in September to become chief executive of housing association Spectrum Housing Group, after seven years at the agency.

Boris’ homes vision

London mayor Boris Johnson this week laid out plans to build 40,000 homes a year in the capital for the next decade.

The announcement was part of his Vision 2020 document outlining what the capital needs to maintain its status as a world city. Johnson did not say how the vision will be achieved.

According to official figures, last year 18,560 homes were built in the capital. Estate agency Knight Frank this week said it expected 227,000 homes to be built in the capital this decade.