Revenue at student housing and BTR specialist up more than a fifth

Developer Watkin Jones has seen its pre-tax profit double in results for the year to 30 September.

The student and rental housing specialist said it made a pre-tax profit of £51.1m, up from the £25.3m reported last year, on turnover of £430m, an increase of 22%.

Watkin Jones Hove Gardens - External C01

The firm is behind this BTR scheme in Hove on the Sussex coast

The profit figure is compared with the covid-hit 2020 results, in which the firm recorded an exceptional cost of £20.5m of pandemic lockdown and cladding repair costs. Accounting for that, the firm said the “underlying” pre-tax profit of the business increased by 12% in the year.

The developer primarily builds apartments and student blocks under forward sale agreements to landlords or institutional investors, with three build-to-rent schemes and nine student housing scheme sold in the year. Watkin Jones said its growth in revenue reflected a “strengthening institutional investor forward sales market”.

The business also said its development pipeline had hit £1.8bn, 20% above that seen at the same time last year, with work progressing on 13 developments.

The firm said trading so far in the new financial year was in line with expectations, with one further scheme sold in the new financial year, for £47m.

The firm said it supported housing secretary Michael Gove’s recent decision to ask housebuilders to contribute £4bn to repair medium rise blocks affected by the fire safety crisis, but added it was “engaging with the Government to clarify its plans in this regard and to confirm whether pro-active remediation will be taken into account”.

Watkin Jones set aside £15m in 2020 to pay for repairs to buildings previously developed by the firm.