For-profit registered providers have driven the highest jump in a decade for the number of shared ownership properties among registered providers, latest official figures show.
In its annual audit of stock, the Regulator of Social Housing (RSH) revealed that an extra 14,500 low-cost homeownership properties were added to the portfolio of registered providers in the year to March 2020 – representing an eight per cent jump.
An RSH spokesperson confirmed to Social Housing this was the largest rise since 2012.
In total, there are now 201,020 “low-cost homeownership” (LCHO) units owned by registered providers, the RSH said.
Two for-profit providers accounted for “nearly a third” of the extra shared ownership units added, the regulator said.
LCHO is the fastest growing stock type for for-profits. In the year, the number of LCHO units they owned more than doubled, from 2,425 units to 5,144. One for-profit provider owns two-thirds of this total, the RSH said.
Shared ownership properties have surged in numbers since 2017, helped by government funding. In particular the RSH pointed to the Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme (SOAHP), which finishes this year. A new Help to Buy scheme comes into place in April and will run until March 2023.
The RSH figures, which are normally published in the autumn but were delayed due to COVID-19, also showed the overall number of units that for-profit providers operate jumped 74 per cent.
Forty-nine providers now operate 9,313 units, up from 5,343 units the previous 12 months.
However the increase is not the biggest. Last year, the jump was 146 per cent as for-profits added more than 3,000 units to a previous total of 2,171.
For the first time also, the total number of homes owned by registered providers, including non-social stock, broke the three million barrier. As of last March, registered providers (not-for-profit and for-profit) operated 3,045,849 units, the RSH revealed.
Stock type and condition
Only five per cent of stock owned by registered providers are in blocks of six or more storeys, the survey also revealed. Focus has been on blocks above this height as the government has worked up new rules under post-Grenfell legislation.
Just over half of the stock are houses or bungalows, with most of the remainder being in blocks six storeys or lower. A total of 117,720 low-cost rental homes are in tall blocks.
It is the first time the RSH has collected this data after it was made mandatory last year.
The survey also revealed that more than half of social units owned by registered providers were built between 1919 and 1980, laying bare the challenge that landlords face to retrofit properties to meet new environmental standards.
Council figures for the first time
Four out of 10 local authorities across England and Wales own no social housing stock, the figures also revealed.
For the first time, the regulator has compiled figures on the stock owned by local authorities as part of its annual survey.
The survey found that there are 197 local authorities registered with the regulator as registered providers. The remaining 134 councils across England and Wales have no stock.
On top of the 134 that do not own stock, 19 own fewer than 1,000 social housing units, the RSH study showed.
Birmingham, with 60,655 units, and Leeds, with 55,302 units, have the most units and account for seven per cent of all social housing stock in England owned by councils.