Watkin Jones steps up expansion into affordable homes

Aaron Morby 2 years ago
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Build-to-rent and student accommodation developer Watkin Jones delivered robust results in the first half of the year while expanding its pipeline of projects to £1.6bn.

The firm has secured two new sites in Edinburgh and Swansea, which will deliver an extra 542 build to rent flats and nearly 600 student beds.

These two schemes will take the firm’s full project pipeline of work to just over 5,000 rental flats and 8,500 beds.

Watkin Jones also advanced its ambition to move into the growing affordable homes sector, building up its pipeline to 485 homes for delivery between 2022 – 2025.

This included purchasing the site for a 245 scheme in Crewe, 51 flats in Llay, Wreham and opening talks for a site in the north west for around 190 flats.

Watkin Jones has also secured its first affordable homes site for 245 homes in Crewe, with an offer progressing for the forward sale of 159 units. 

Richard Simpson, chief executive officer of Watkin Jones, said: “All of these affordable homes sites have planning.  Given the encouraging initial progress, a number of further site opportunities are also under review.”

The firm this morning reported a 4% dip in revenue for the last six months to March to £178m, generation a pre-tax profit of £26m, in line with the same pre-pandemic period last year.

Simpson said: “As we begin to emerge from the pandemic, we are seeing increasing investor confidence in our market sectors.  

“We’ve maintained the momentum from the second half of last year and made further good progress in securing new forward sales, adding to our development pipeline and keeping all our construction activities on track.”

Simpson said all 15 company projects on site were progressing smoothly, with the total development pipeline value up from £1bn a year ago to £1.6bn.

He added: “All parts of the business have continued to perform well, and while our profit for the first half of the year was slightly below last year, this was because the first half last year was largely before the onset of the disruption caused by the pandemic.

“The fundamentals supporting the markets for high quality build to rent and student accommodation assets remain strong, driving growing institutional demand, and combined with the continued progress we have made in the first half of the year, gives us confidence in our future trading.”

 

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