UK government – Delivered affordable housing up 12%
Figures released by the government show that, in England, there were 47,355 affordable homes delivered between April 2017 and March 2018, an increase of 12 per cent on an annual basis.
The data adds that 57 per cent of these were affordable rent homes (26,838), and that 90 per cent of the total were new builds.
Furthermore, since houses delivered under the shared ownership scheme have been counted separately in 2015 to 2016, the numbers delivered has jumped from 4,084 to 8,905 in 2016 to 2017, to the 10,880 figure stated today.
In all, the affordable homes delivered make up 21 per cent of the total number of new homes, not quite at the peak of 40 per cent seen in 2010 to 2011, but far above the 16 per cent low seen more recently, in 2015 to 2016.
North London estate agent Jeremy Leaf says: “Affordable housing provision is absolutely vital and one of the very few issues where the political parties are in agreement. Not only do we need more housing across the board but also more affordable housing.
“These figures show that we are moving in the right direction but because they are so historic it is difficult to get an accurate handle on current trends. Every city needs more affordable housing but we need a much bigger increase to current supply levels in order to make a meaningful difference.
“The need is getting even greater as household numbers rise and property becomes less and less affordable, particularly for younger people who are struggling to get on the ladder.”
Imla executive director Kate Davies adds: “The number of additional affordable homes marks a modest but continuing positive trend, which will need to be sustained if the existing shortage of such properties is to be met.
“According to current projections, an average of 210,000 new households will form each year between now and 2039. Estimates of how many new homes will need to be built each year are much higher than this when past backlogs are also taken into account: the National Housing Federation has suggested that 145,000 new affordable homes are needed each year.
“The recent Letwin Report highlighted a number of issues hampering the development of affordable property and the opportunities and challenges of designing and building out sites which feature a diverse mix of units. We would urge the government to prioritise the necessary processes to speed up planning and construction so that households on modest incomes can have a realistic opportunity to buy or rent their own home.”
Meanwhile, Legal & General Mortgage Club director Kevin Roberts comments: “An increase of 12 per cent in the number of affordable homes will certainly be music to first-time buyers’ ears, providing them with the reassurance they need. However, with new builds accounting for 90 per cent of affordable stock, where does this leave prospective buyers when the Help to Buy scheme ends in 2023?
“If we are to create a housing market that is accessible to all, then the industry and government must work closer together to find long-term solutions to the current affordability challenges.
“One necessary step is to increase the supply of multi-tenure solutions, including owner occupier, shared ownership, affordable rent and social rent. However, at the same time, it will be interesting to see whether initiatives such as starter homes, discounted market schemes or lower deposit mortgages will play a more prominent role to help fill the HTB void. We are certainly taking a step in the right direction, it’s just we need that final push of innovation if we are to really stimulate the market.”
In mid-September, prime minister Theresa May announced in a speech given to the National Housing Federation that the UK government would be spending £2bn to boost the country’s affordable and social housing supply.
Source: Mortgage Strategy