BLOG : Affordable housing crisis coming

15 Jun 2012


In the upcoming July edition of Housebuilder we have a couple of really interesting pieces about affordable housing - interesting, but rather worrying.

Affordable housing consultant Simon Corp argues that the introduction this year of the Community Infrastructure Levy could be "the final nail in the coffin" of affordable housing.

In essence he argues that with the cutting of grant funding, Registered Social Landlords can only provide a fraction of the affordable housing that they used to build. But the private sector is not taking up the slack because of the viability issue - housebuilders cannot afford to provide high levels of afordable housing when costs are increasing and values falling. They are renegotiating their agreements to reduce the affordable housing provision. Corp says this will get worse as CIL comes in because the only area that is negotiable will be affordable housing so that will be reduced.

Our regular columnist Richard Jones of EC Harris also looks at the affordable housing situation and reinforces much of what Corp says - and adds that the whole concept of affordable housing is being challenged, and that there is a move away from providing affordable housing and towards affordable rent. As Jones points out, that is very different to social rent, and the question of what affordable means is being examined.

Jones is more positive than Corp - he sees the changes prompting new ways of delivering the homes that are needed. But he agrees we are in a key period for the tenure.

Having read these articles, you can imagine my surprise then when I read a tweet from the housing minister Grant Shapps saying that the Homes and Communities Agency had delivered 60,000 affordable homes last year. Sure enough, the HCA statistics did reveal that it had  smashed its target for housing completiions - but they also revealed that affordable housing STARTS had fallen 65% year on year.

The affordable housing problem is just beginning, methinks.



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Ben Roskrow's previous blogs

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