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Want to build homes? Be a thrifty philanthropist

Which group would you expect to have a current pipeline of 8,000 homes to be built across London: Taylor Wimpey? Barratt Homes?

Would you have considered the housing association Peabody?

The social landlord is planning to build an average of 1,000 homes a year between now and 2020 and in 2015 delivered 1,140 homes across the capital – which Peabody claims makes it one of London’s largest developers. 

It’s also planning a £4bn regeneration of Thamesmead and is on the hunt for investment partners and developers to pump cash into the 11,500-home scheme.

Peabody isn’t the only housing association with a pipeline looking more like that of a heavyweight developer. In April, L&Q signed a partnership with mayor of London Sadiq Khan for a total of £8bn to be invested in building 20,000 homes.

It also acquired private land business Gallagher Estates in February, bagging plots of land for 42,500 homes to be built in the South and the Midlands.

And it looks like Theresa May has identified housing associations as key players to plug the country’s housing crisis.

The prime minister announced today that a Conservative government would be looking to strike deals with housing associations – as well as councils – and place the delivery of council homes at the heart of housing policy if the party wins next month’s general election. 

But why are housing associations rapidly becoming major players in the delivery of new homes?

Peabody strategy and communications director Rebecca Sudworth told delegates last week at a Westminster Social Policy Forum conference that housing associations bring something different to the table because social values are at the heart of what they do.

But we all know morals can’t pay for the sky-high London land price-tags.

Housing associations obviously have the capital to buy sites and deliver units – something that could have been aided by a series of major housing associations that happened last year.

For example, Peabody joined forces with Family Mosaic in December to become a £618m organisation. In the same month, L&Q merged with East Thames and outlined plans to invest £15bn in gross capital expenditure in building 100,000 homes over 10 years.

Contractors would be wise to eye up the opportunities housing associations are offering – and see how they can tap into projects offered.

Also in the news

A consortium led by Aecom has scooped a contract to masterplan the £26bn redevelopment of London’s Old Oak Common.

Housebuilder Lovell has appointed a new major projects director to head up its partnership with the Ministry of Defence. 

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