Many social landlords remain pessimistic about the current operating environment, a new survey has revealed.

According to research by Baker Tilly, 77 per cent of social housing providers believe a full economic recovery is still another two years off at least.

Meanwhile, 59 per cent said they feel they are operating in a recessionary climate at the moment, Inside Housing reports.

As a result, many are becoming increasingly concerned about the number of housing association collapses going up in the next few years.

Nevertheless, a strong proportion of social housing providers remain committed to boosting their stock.

Some 22 per cent of those polled said they intend to use their own resources to fund development, while 30 per cent are going to turn to bank and grant funding. Meanwhile, 30 per cent said they plan to secure alternative sources of funding in order to build new homes.

Gary Moreton, head of social housing at Baker Tilly, said it is interesting to see the lack of confidence in the sector is doing little to knock its plans for future development.

Indeed, he noted that just one in five registered providers are aiming to reduce development from next year.

Mr Moreton suggested the government "could well be rather pleased with how things are developing", as it appears reduced grants "seem to be having no major impact on the sector's continued appetite and focus on developing".

He added that while the relationship "between the sector and the grant regime remains uncertain, the one thing we do know for sure is that the sector remains committed to building new homes". This, he said, is "very encouraging".

Another significant finding was that nearly eight in ten registered providers support the Homes and Communities Agency's plans to adopt a more forensic risk-based approach to regulation.