5 Cost Comparisons

Cost area Soho Housing (2016/17) HouseMark(2015/16) Difference
Management cost per social housing unit £1,211 £725 +£486 (+67%)
Service cost per social housing unit £1,017 £511 +£506 (+99%)
Maintenance costs per social housing unit £3,079 £2,703 +£376(+14%)

 

Self Assessment

Given the location of Soho Housing’s properties in the centre of one of the most expensive cities in the world there are issues in achieving low costs in the work we do. This year Soho Housing has joined Housemark and are also participating in the sector scorecard initiative. The initial benchmarking results for 2015/16 have been compiled and are some extracts are shown in the table above. For management and service costs they are significantly different and these are being investigated to ensure that the basis Soho Housing has submitted data is consistent with its peer group.

Management costs have increased in 2016/17 due to higher overhead costs arising during the year. The overhead increase is primarily due to two areas, the rent on the head office increased as a result of a rent review by c. £90k per annum and the staff wage costs increased by £90k due to the addition of a development manager post, as well as annual pay rises.

Service costs fell significantly, partly this was due to Soho Housing buying out a lease contract for communal aerials at a cost of c. £225k, this is a cost of £314 per unit, in 2015/16. Costs dropped by £329/unit overall, partly due to the above and partly due to cost saving measures undertaken.

Soho Housing has continued to work to reduce planned and cyclical work costs and this continues to reduce costs per unit worked on, although the number of units in the programme each year varies. There are 3 contributing factors to the increase in maintenance spend compared to 2015/16. The first is the higher overhead allocation, which has already been outlined in the section on management costs above. The second has was void costs, where the number and work required for void properties this year has been much higher than for many years. The third is reactive maintenance costs, these were running overbudget at the start of the year, but were brought back under control, although the initial overspend was not fully recouped. In the last quarter a Stock Condition Survey was undertaken and this identified some additional works that needed to be undertaken. These were done, but added to costs in this area. The expectation is that costs should move into line with our peer group in 2017/18.

Our targets for 2017/18 are laid out in the next section of this report.