Merlin secures low funding rates to help it achieve house building target

August 30 2016

SOUTH Gloucestershire housing association Merlin has secured record low rates of funding that will finance its expanding development programme.

SOUTH Gloucestershire housing association Merlin has secured record low rates of funding that will finance its expanding development programme.

The Chipping Sodbury-based society said the funding would support its goal of building 300 homes a year by 2019.

Its finance director, Sue O’Neill, said: “We have a strong business plan and are committed to using our financial strength to grow the business and develop new homes.” 

Merlin recently posted its strongest financial results for the year to March 31, 2016, recording its highest net surplus of £10.5 million and increased its operating margin to 34 per cent.

It said it aimed to start work on site with 250 new homes this year and to complete 135 by the end of the financial year next spring.

Merlin’s strong performance during the year also saw a reduction in tenant arrears to a record low of 0.9 per cent, best ever levels of customer satisfaction at 87 per cent and the building of 79 homes.

Merlin chairman Andrew Frayling said: “We will continue to develop homes for rent and will increase the numbers we develop for shared ownership.”

During the financial year, Merlin invested £12 million on new homes and a further £11.5 million improving its current housing stock.

It also saved £139,000 by cutting the time taken to re-let empty homes - from 30 to 22 days. It plans to bring this down to 18 days in 2016-17.