24 September 2019

Housing associations are ready and willing to step up and rise to the challenges they face in today’s economy.

There is no better time to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing housing associations as Brexit uncertainty poses an economic threat to its ambitions. BDO’s annual Social Housing Barometer 2019 provides the most comprehensive analysis of market sentiment of the UK’s social housing decision makers.

Committed to development in uncertain times

Predicting results of a survey is hard – there always seem to be surprises. The most welcome surprise this year is the strong commitment to increasing housing development. It would appear that despite concerns about the wider economy and some anxiety over the property market, most respondents are planning to develop more homes than anticipated in previous plans, notwithstanding some clear geographic differences. This is a clear sign that housing associations are willing to step up and play a vital role in addressing the UK’s housing crisis. They are displaying a rising risk appetite and are looking for new opportunities.

However, today’s environment isn’t an easy one. The political landscape has undeniably undergone a seismic shift over the last year. Perhaps then, it’s less of a surprise that our barometer reveals a cautious view over the future strength of the UK economy. Associations see many Brexit-associated challenges – rising costs, funding pressures and financial problems for tenants, to name a few – but some are also identifying potential opportunities in a post-Brexit era.

We found that these same associations are already actively taking steps to both mitigate the risks they see and position themselves to be ready to take advantage of any opportunities that do arise. Clearly, this reveals a resilient housing sector that is rising to the challenges faced and a determination to do their best for their customers. It’s great to see this willingness to step up.

Our barometer also explored the factors contributing to changes in financial surplus, which uncovered a positive outlook. It also asked what currently sits on the agenda for boards and management teams, their key risks and their associated risk appetite.

Join us for the unveiling of the full results

We will be unveiling the full results of The Social Housing Barometer at a webinar on Wednesday 2 October. Host, BDO’s Head of Housing Phil Cliftlands, will be joined by a panel of social housing experts. The panel will discuss the impact government policy and wider market conditions are having on housing associations in the UK and the challenges and opportunities available.

Register now for:

  • An exclusive copy of the Social Housing Barometer 2019 report
  • A comprehensive analysis of the economic climate facing UK Housing associations
  • A breakdown of current key trends and developments in the sector
  • A guide to navigating the opportunities and challenges facing housing associations in the UK

Phil Cliftlands

Phil is Head of Not for Profit at BDO

Phil leads BDO's national housing practice with over 20 years’ experience working in the sector. He is a member of the SORP Working Party, a former member of the ICAEW Social Housing Sub-Committee and has worked closely with the RSH (and its predecessors), the NHF and other key stakeholders for a number of years on a wide variety of governance and financial policy areas.

Are you rising to the challenge?