The need for more housing, especially more affordable housing, is probably something nearly everyone, including all the political parties, can agree on.
When Prime Minister Theresa May announced in a speech, given to the National Housing Federation in mid-September, that the UK government would be spending £2bn to boost the country’s affordable and social housing supply the idea was applauded, although there was still a great deal of cynicism as to the actual impact achievable.
Especially as the recently published Letwin Report underlined the view that there are still too many barriers hampering the development of affordable housing including ongoing planning obstacles.
Yet the latest official figures just released by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) show that things could actually moving in the right direction as the number of affordable homes completed in England increased by 12% from 2016 - 17 to 2017 - 18. Furthermore, other key findings from the Affordable Housing Supply report include:
The proportion of all new-build completions that were affordable homes edged up to 24%, from 23% the previous year.
90% of affordable homes delivered in England were new build overall.
The number of affordable home starts also increased, up by 11% to 53,572, meaning there is likely to be an increase in completions in the coming years.
Affordable homes for rent is the most common tenure for homes coming to the market, accounting for 57% of properties.
Legal & General Mortgage Club director Kevin Roberts commenting on the report said: “An increase of 12% 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.”