Housing association announces record revenues

A Wiltshire housing association reported record revenue for its last financial year as it built more than 1,300 properties and invested over £83m in maintaining its homes.

Aster Group, which is based in Devizes in Wiltshire, has properties across the south of England and London.

The organisation reported turnover of £301m in the year to 31 March 2023, up from £241m in 2022.

Revenue was boosted by the merger with Central and Cecil (C&C), a London-based provider of care services and affordable homes, which completed in January of last year.

During the year Aster delivered 1,312 new properties, its highest total to date.

As part of its commitment to maintaining its existing portfolio, the Group also invested £83m (2022: £69m) across its estate of over 36,000 properties, with over 120,000 repairs completed.

Aster’s strategy is focused on investing in modernising its customer services and maintaining and improving its properties while building affordable homes through a variety of land-led schemes and via Section 106 agreements, joint ventures and community land trusts.

In October 2022, Aster acquired Enham Trust, a Hampshire-based charity that supports disabled people to live more independent lives. As well as C&C and Enham Trust, Dorset-based East Boro Housing Trust (EBHT) is also part of Aster Group.

Operating profit for the year was £66m (2022: £76m), with pre-tax profit of £55m (2022: £171m). Last year’s pre-tax profit figure was boosted by a gain from the acquisition of C&C, while this year’s figure included a gain following the acquisition of Enham Trust.

Bjorn Howard, group chief executive of Aster Group, said: “This was a transformative year for Aster, as we built more homes than at any other point in our history and diversified our business thanks to the successful integration of care specialist C&C into the Group, as well as Enham Trust.

“As a result, we have now expanded further into London, providing good-quality homes and care services for our customers. While developing as many new affordable homes each year remains a key priority, we’re focused on improving our existing portfolio, underlined by the significant amount invested in repairs and maintenance.

“All this work is underpinned by our outstanding employees, who deliver lasting benefits for our customers and communities, day in and day out. Our investment in our flexible and inclusive employee offer, and our award-winning health and wellbeing approach are designed to enable us to recruit and retain the best talent in the sector.”

Aster said it expects to build over 1,100 homes in 2023/24 as part of its plans to invest more than £2bn to deliver around 10,000 properties in the next seven years.