An innovative collaboration between Manchester City Council, Greater Manchester Pension Fund, and the Homes and Communities Agency is under way in the city to stimulate affordable housing.

Construction of 121 homes in Manchester has started under a new development company, Matrix Homes. The scheme, which is a partnership between Manchester City Council, Greater Manchester Pension Fund (GMPF), and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), aims to increase housing in the area. It is the first collaboration of this type in Manchester.

Councillor Kieran Quinn, Chair of the Greater Manchester Pension Fund, said: “There continues to be demand for new homes throughout Greater Manchester. This new approach is delivering attractive homes to Greater Manchester residents”.

“I’m proud that the Greater Manchester Pension Fund is willing to invest in the construction of much-needed homes across the county while also securing a good return for our members’ pensions. It’s great to see that the Fund is able to take advantage of this opportunity to invest in new homes that are so clearly needed.”

The project will use land owned by the council, including a site offered by the HCA. The GMPF will finance the build. The hope is this will stimulate home building while reducing the risks associated with construction projects of this size.

The new homes will be built by Wates Living Space. The housing contractor will also receive advice from project management company GVA. The homes will predominately be two and three bedroom properties. A small number of four bedroom homes will be available at the Chorlton site. The first phase of construction aims to complete by November this year. Property reservations will be possible from late July, early August.

Lee Sale, Regional Business Director for Wates Living Space, said: “It is with great excitement that we embark upon the construction of this significant project. It is a venture that we are extremely proud to be involved in and we look forward to seeing the different developments take shape.

“In addition to the delivery of quality brand new homes, we will plan to provide training and employment opportunities to local people and ultimately boost their employment prospects. We hope that our presence here makes a mark on the local economy and is to the benefit of to the surrounding communities.”

In total, 121 homes will be sold through Plumlife, the affordable sales arm of Greater Places Housing Group. Places for People Group will market the remaining 119 properties for rent.

Lisa Westerman group head of Sales for Plumlife said: “We’re delighted to be a part of this ground-breaking residential project, which will play a key role in reinvigorating the city’s potential as a truly desirable, yet affordable place to live.

“Although buying a home in Manchester remains more affordable than it is in London and the South East, it’s still a struggle for many working people to move on or up the housing ladder in to good quality, desirable homes that meets modern day demands. Even those on higher incomes struggle, chiefly because of the deposit requirements from mortgage lenders.

“For that reason, we’re hoping to offer a proportion of buyers the Government’s Help to Buy scheme, a 20% equity loan which can be used to fund the deposit.”

The sites will be spread across Manchester in five different locations: one in Chorlton, two in Wythenshawe, and two in Gorton. It is hoped the sites will provide high-quality, affordable homes in the city.

Councillor Jeff Smith executive member for housing and regeneration at Manchester City Council said: “This is a momentous occasion that marks the end of a long journey to help support the home building sector in Manchester. Matrix Homes is the product of a hugely innovative housing investment model – and I hope we can replicate the successes of this project across larger schemes in the future.”

The launch of the Matrix Homes website is expected to occur in July. The site will contain detailed information on each development, as well as online brochures.

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