Editor: The government’s commitment of £12bn to help deliver 180,000 new affordable homes over the next five years is welcome and significant – as is the pledge that 50% of these new homes will be affordable rental product (‘Jenrick releases details of £12bn affordable housing programme’)
This will certainly help address the needs of those at the margins of affordability.
However, securing the land and planning permissions within this timescale will be challenging.
Homes England has a role to play, but there will be a need to work effectively with housing associations and developers to deliver affordable homes in a mixed and balanced way.
Public sector land surely has to be one of the priorities, and the government will need to review public sector procurement models to speed up delivery on public sector land if it is both to meet its targets and spend this money effectively.
The government has clearly identified an issue with the shared ownership intermediate model – that being its limited affordability, particularly prevalent in higher-value areas such as the South East.
Reducing the minimum ‘ownership’ stake from an often unattainable 25% to a more realistic 10% is a positive step. That said, more detail is required on how increased ownership will be made more affordable to those who have managed to get onto this shared ownership ladder.
The right to purchase a stake in rental products is also a new development and, given the history of ‘Right to Buy’, it will be interesting to see how housing associations and local authority housing companies respond to it.
In London, £4bn is to be allocated to the GLA for affordable housing. While this is a third of the total fund, affordability challenges in London mean that this funding could be thinly spread. It is also interesting to note that this funding is being offered subject to ‘negotiations’ with the GLA on how it will be used.
Does this suggest more political brinkmanship between government and the Mayor of London? Only time will tell.
Stuart Baillie, head of planning, Knight Frank