Clarion reports flat operating surplus in spite of pandemic

Britain’s largest housing association has reported a marginal increase in its operating surplus during the first six months of 2020/21 despite the disruption caused by the coronavirus health crisis.

Clarion Housing Group has 350,000 tenants living in its 125,000 homes. It saw its operating surplus grow from £138m in the first half of 2019/20 to £139m in the same period this year.

In an update to investors based on unaudited results, Clarion reported income from outright sales and shared ownership of £70m, up from £43m over the same period last year.

Investment in existing stock fell from £31m to £29m and from £284m to £274m in new homes.

Clarion said the figures represented a “strong performance given the pause in construction activity towards the end of March 2020”. It experienced a drop in new build starts during the six months to 30 September 2020, with activity beginning on 813 homes, compared with 1,132 in the same period last year. Its development pipeline currently stands at around 18,000 homes.

Clarion has increased its liquidity position during the pandemic. Liquidity rose from £900m at 31 March 2020 to £1.6bn at the end of September. The HA is planning to publish in November its first environmental, social and governance report bringing together a variety of key metrics.

By Patrick Mooney, Editor