Sir Bob Kerslake is calling for new sources of capital to be poured into the residential market to help sort out Britain’s housing crisis.

Speaking at Resi 08, the incoming head of the Homes and Communities Agency, who takes up his position on 1 December, said the focus must be on bringing in new forms of investment to give a wider choice in housing. ‘We need more choice around renting and renting to buy to fill in the gap in the market,’ he said. ‘In this sort of climate the impossible becomes the inevitable and you have to be absolutely open to ideas and realistic about what’s possible.’

Kerslake backed the British Property Federation’s lobbying for a properly-managed private-rented sector. He said the new agency would consider a range of models and joint ventures where it could help the worst-hit inner city flats markets, such as Leeds: ‘I could see a situation where we can create a JV to take the flats off the balance sheet and help rent them.’

Kerslake said the situation was serious as ‘effective demand has collapsed’. However, people still need homes and a ‘set of here-and-now actions to help change the housing market’. He promised to work with government, housing associations, developers and councils to produce sensible funding models.