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YHG Comment: CEO Brian Cronin on joint venture announcement

Your Housing Group Chief Executive Officer, Brian Cronin, shares his thoughts on the joint venture deal, which could see up to 25,000 homes being built per year by 2022.

"The announcement of our JV deal is extremely timely; the housing shortage within the UK is only going to be addressed by radical innovation and new ways of tackling the age old issues. We’re all fully aware of the deficit of homes across the UK and Government want to see Housing Associations making the necessary changes needed to increase provision.

Gone are the days of large capital grants being given to support new homes being built and with the average house prices in the UK continuing to creep to almost ten times the annual income, which is on average £27,500. We are at risk of a whole generation not being able to afford a home. We need a different plan of attack, without one we’re not going to be able to build the volumes of new homes needed to plug the gap.

Which is why, we’ve chosen to approach the challenge differently, the old ways haven’t worked, and we need to find an innovative solution that addresses both the manufacture of new homes and how we finance them.

The JV we’ve announced, I believe, is the solution to the problem. It enables us to significantly increase the supply of new homes across the whole of the UK, not just the North West. The state-of-the-art modular or manufactured homes are produced using technology similar to a car manufacturing plant, enabling us to drive down construction costs in the process; the homes are then assembled on site in record quick time. Not only increasing the supply but also decreasing the time it takes to build a new home and get it to the people who need it most. Long term asset sustainability and energy efficiency to tackle fuel poverty are also tangible outcomes of this approach.

The social benefit to the joint venture is also clear to see, we’re able to support local businesses by developing supply and delivery chains that source materials and labour locally to proposed developments. The proposed six factories will be located at strategic points across the UK, and these themselves will also offer employment opportunities, apprenticeships and access for the local communities in which they are situated to retrain in new construction methods.

We want to build 25,000 in total over the next five years and this opportunity isn’t just about Your Housing Group solving the housing problem single handily, we see it as an opportunity to talk to other Housing Associations and Local Authorities about the housing needs in their areas, and how our solution can also benefit them, their customers and their communities – the only way we are going to solve the problem is to take the best parts from the past and creating a new future for housing."