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Home Group targets new PRS offering and 2,000 homes a year by 2021

Housing association Home Group is eyeing the private rented sector to help it deliver 2,000 homes a year by 2021.

The group has built an average of 800 homes annually for the past five years and is on track to build 1,100 in 2016.

But Home Group executive director of development Brian Ham told Construction News the group had ambitious targets to deliver at least 2,000 homes a year by 2021.

He added that this would see a major change in the tenure mix of homes being built by the group, with a 50:50 split between ‘affordable’ homes and homes for outright sale expected to introduced by 2021.

The group will continue to partner with the private sector to deliver schemes, with partnerships already entered into with Galliford Try, Countryside, Berkeley and Keepmoat.

Its JV with Galliford Try was on the longlist to become Haringey Council’s development partner for its £2bn regeneration programme, but missed out on the shortlist.

Home Group is also working alongside Countryside Properties on the £160m South Oxhey redevelopment near Watford, and is delivering 4,000 homes in Hull and East Riding in a consortium with Keepmoat and Strata Homes.

Most of these JVs were formed in the last 18 months, with the group looking to build closer relationships with its existing JV partners and other firms.

Mr Ham said the Galliford Try JV would account for around 20 per cent of Home Group’s current housebuilding programme.

The housing association will move away from tendering individual schemes in favour of frameworks and JVs to deliver new projects.

Seventeen contractors, including national heavyweights ISG, Robertson and Wates, alongside regional contractors Merchant Homes Partnerships and Bugler Developments, have all won places on Home Group’s £1bn regional construction framework.

Mr Ham explained that each of these contractors would be given work on rotation rather than through mini-competition, with each firm working with Home Group before the planning stage.

He said: “In the old model, we would get a design worked up, we would get planning consent, and we would go out to tender.

“We would then arm-wrestle over price and would have a haggle about finish and quality all through the construction process – but we’re not doing that any more.”

Projects due to go through this framework include a 100-home development in Cheam, and a redevelopment of Home Group’s former office in Harrow that will provide 40 homes.

He said the firm had been working “for some time” on its own PRS offering, with a pilot planned for one of the group’s sites in London.

Both Keepmoat and Countryside have formed PRS ventures in the past year, and Mr Ham said those firms would be “obvious partners” for the new PRS venture.

However, he added that the group “needs to get a feel of [PRS] capacity and design” before launching it formally.

Home Group has also made a number of land acquisitions, typically sites that have the capacity for 200-300 homes, with those sites now being brought through the planning process.

“We’re actively interested in partnering on schemes of scale across the country and engaging with contractors at the early stages,” Mr Ham said, with these new sites running parallel to its existing JVs.

Land deals completed by the group in the last six months include the acquisition of a 19 ha site in Harrogate, with plans to build 350 homes.

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