Aster Group builds record number of homes

Housing association and developer Aster Group delivered 939 new homes last year, a 14 per cent increase on 2016’s total.

This is more than the group’s average build rate for the past 10 years – 550 homes – and has been delivered as part of its five-year £2.1bn affordable development programme.

Under this plan, Aster secured seven sites across its operating area; including its largest ever land-led scheme, a 106-home development at Bargates in Christchurch.

Of the new units, 482 were for affordable and social rent, 357 were for shared ownership and 100 were for open-market sale.

Aster’s development rate ensures it remains one of the UK’s leading housing associations for building new homes. Based on its 2016 total, the group was ranked in the top 10 in Inside Housing’s Top 50 Developers list.

Aster’s growth plan has seen it break ground for the first time in Surrey and expand its presence in Oxfordshire, with the first set of houses completed at a 131-unit site in Great Western Park, Didcot.

The group also announced a landmark deal with Linden Homes to deliver one third of a 1,400-home development at Boorley Green in Eastleigh. The joint venture, called Boorley Green LLP, works alongside a number of other developers.

Aster has delivered 51 of the site’s first tranche of section 106 provision. This will be a total of 140 homes, with 51 available for shared ownership and 89 for affordable and social rent, once completed.

Amanda Williams, group development director at Aster Group, said:

“We hit the ground running in 2017 and delivered more homes than ever. Our focus now is on maintaining this momentum so that we increase our build rate each year.

“The gap between the average house price and what most people can afford continues to widen. Our mission is to address this by making more homes available. But that doesn’t mean simply increasing volume, it also means providing more choice in the market. That’s why we are so focused on increasing the number of shared ownership and affordable rent homes available.

“We plan to continue our ambitious and diversified approach to development, including through our joint ventures and an increasing number of land-led schemes. As a commercially-focused housing association, our strategy is to leverage our assets and profit to build more homes, helping to meet the UK’s ever-increasing demand for housing.”

Aster Group is investing over £2bn  in building new homes by the end of 2024. The housing association reported record revenues of £191m and pre-tax profits of £44m in the year to March 2017 – a year-on-year increase of 29 per cent.