Watkin Jones bolsters affordable homes pipeline

Having bought a plot for its pilot scheme in Crewe last year, the Bangor-based developer has added a further 51 units to its affordable pipeline in Wrexham and is close to acquiring another North West site to build 189 more units. 

Watkin Jones is close to agreeing a deal to forward sell 133 of the 189 units at the new site, it said. 

In Crewe, Watkin Jones plans to create 245 homes, 86 of which are to be affordable.  

An offer for the forward sale of the 159 build-to-rent and private sale units that make up the remainder of the Crewe project is progressing, according to the developer. 

In Preston, construction of a 97-home development is ongoing; 34 of these homes are to to be designated as affordable. 

In total, Watkin Jones has a pipeline of 485 affordable units, due to be delivered between 2022 and 2025. 

The company updated shareholders on the progress it had made in developing affordable homes as it published its half-year results for for the six months ended 31 March 2021.

Watkin Jones reported a pre-tax profit of £25.8m, down slightly from £26.7m in the same half-year period in 2020. 

The firm’s revenue also remained relatively stable. Watkin Jones reported takings of £178m for the period, a decrease of around £7m year-on-year. 

Aside from affordable homes, the developer’s key markets are build-to-rent apartments and purpose-built student accommodation. Overall, Watkin Jones has a pipeline of 5,000 build-to-rent apartments and 8,500 student beds.

Earlier this year, the developer lodged plans for a 425-bed student scheme in Fallowfield, Manchester. 

High institutional demand within both sectors is providing confidence for future trading, according to Richard Simpson, chief executive officer of Watkin Jones. 

“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.” 

“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.” 

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