Bidding opens for £12.2bn affordable housing funding

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Housing secretary Robert Jenrick is inviting bids for the government’s £12.2bn affordable housing funding

The new programme represents the highest funding commitment to affordable housing in a decade.

The £12.2bn affordable housing funding was confirmed in the Budget, which also includes £700m on new homes through the 2016 to 2022 programme.

A new £11.5bn Affordable Homes Programme will be delivered over 5 years from 2021 to 2026, providing up to 180,000 new homes across the country.

The programme aims to unlock a further £38bn in public and private investment in affordable housing.

The government has made around half of the new homes available for affordable homeownership.

In order to support people from all backgrounds, the rest will be made available for discounted rent, including 10% for supported housing.

Nearly £7.5bn will be delivered outside London by Homes England, the government’s housing accelerator.

The Greater London Authority has been offered £4bn and negotiations about what they will deliver with this funding are in progress.

Homes England will publish their Affordable Homes Programme prospectus this week, inviting councils, housing associations and private providers to start preparing their bids.

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick, said: “Today’s announcement represents the highest single funding commitment to affordable housing in a decade and is part of our comprehensive plans to build back better.

“This government is helping hard-working families and prospective first-time buyers get their feet on the housing ladder in an affordable way.

“Thanks to the range of flexible ownership options being made available, more families across the country will be able to realise their dreams of owning their own home, with half of these homes being made available for ownership.”

‘Disingenuous’ proposals

Tom Fyans, deputy chief executive of CPRE, commented: “While this funding seems impressive, it was announced in the Budget and doesn’t represent any additional investment to tackle the affordability crisis.

“What’s more, the government risks looking disingenuous when it claims to be keen to tackle the issue of affordability given outrageous proposals in the recently published planning white paper.

“As things stand, the government’s planning reforms seek to scrap the requirement to deliver affordable homes on anything other than large sites, which would worsen the housing crisis.

“Currently developers on small to medium sites are required to build affordable homes if the site includes more than ten units.

“The reforms as they stand raise this to up to 50 units leaving most rural areas with many fewer affordable homes. This would be disastrous as it would make the existing affordable housing crisis in our rural communities even worse.”

Fyans added: “To begin making the hard decisions and tackling the housing crisis head on, the government should listen to local communities and ensure even small sites make a contribution to housing affordability and aren’t just lining the pockets of builders delivering executive homes.

“A substantial affordable housing investment programme from the government would also have the benefit of boosting the economy in a way the proposed planning reforms couldn’t hope to achieve.”

New model for Shared Ownership

Jenrick is also announcing a new model for shared ownership to help more people onto the property ladder.

The new shared ownership model will:

  • Reduce the minimum initial share you can buy in a property from 25% to 10%
  • Allow people to buy additional shares in their home in 1% instalments, with heavily reduced fees
  • Introduce a 10-year period for new shared owners where the landlord will cover the cost of any repairs and maintenance.

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