Equity Housing Group
Equity has a long history of delivering high quality much needed affordable homes, with strong development levels for an organisation of our size and capacity. For the last few years we have been a top quartile developer based on our size and our latest plan is to build 860 new homes over the next five years.
Our in-house development team are highly skilled and experienced team who have strong working relationships with Homes England and the local authorities we work across.
We are looking to maximise opportunities arising from this strong starting position through our strategy which is strongly centred on growth, concentrating within geographies where we already have a presence. We are investigating expanding on the edges of this where the market appears favourable and where we are well suited to meet local housing need.
Equity is also a valued member of the BLOC partnership.
Affordable Home Ownership
We are known for our expertise in Shared Ownership, and have been capitalising on this by focusing our growth in this area, as well as generating revenue by selling our sales and management services to others.
We have also been keen to explore other ways we can offer affordable home ownership in addition to Shared Ownership, enabling affordable home ownership for as many people as possible.
Our award-winning ethical estate agency, Equity Living, has a high street presence in Cheadle Hulme.
As well as selling new Shared Ownership units on behalf of Equity Housing Group, it also sells on behalf of other providers, and provides private landlords and individuals with a general estate agency and market letting service at the fraction of the price of many other high street estate agents.
Equity Living is a successful agency that generates a return for Equity to re-invest in developing social housing. It is staffed by a multi-skilled team of housing professionals who are used to operating in both a commercial and regulated environment. It is expected to generate income of over £330k in 2018/19 with a surplus of c. £100k. About two thirds of its income comes from properties sold and let by Equity, with the remainder generated from business with other organisations (councils and RPs) and the general public. We continue to look at ways to generate further income and returns from Equity Living.
Following significant changes in 2017, Equity now provides a generic housing management service to all of our customers with three area teams. These teams provide work generically across the various stock in these areas offering providing lettings, tenancy and estate management, and arrears management services to general needs, older persons and home ownership customers.
This model is well suited to our geographical spread. Smaller patches ensure that front-line staff can expand their local knowledge and provide a personalised service to our customers. With this, and the roll out of our new housing management system in summer 2019, we aim to reduce the amount of customer effort required to business with us.
Repairs and Maintenance
Currently we are in the process of procuring a new long-term integrated asset management contract, with the responsive repairs and void works element due to launch in summer 2019.
This is being procured in partnership with another local provider, enabling us to generate efficiencies in both procurement and contract costs. The contract has a degree of flexibility which includes a break clause after three years. An independent stock condition survey, including 100% of rented stock and leasehold stock, has been commissioned and should be completed by March 2019.
Our Digital Strategy and, in particular the new housing management system, addresses historical issues with our digital infrastructure, targeting improvements in efficiency both in support costs and business processes.
Research shows our customers are digitally confident and there is an opportunity to increase the quality, usability and therefore take-up of our online services. Our new housing management system represents a significant investment and is due to go live in summer 2019, including mobile working for colleagues and a mature customer self-serve proposition. It will also generate significant cost savings over time.
We are keen to see a mature approach to benefits realisation to maximise the value generated from our digital investment.