In a dramatic expansion the government’s affordable housing programme, Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said a further £7 billion will be available to build new affordable homes.
Housing providers can now apply for a share of the fund, which was allocated an additional £1.4 billion at the Autumn Statement, to deliver 40,000 new affordable housing starts across the country.
Alongside this extra funding, the government said it is expanding the existing affordable homes programme to offer a wider range of ways to help people into home ownership and to provide support for those that need affordable housing.
By expanding the variety of tenures available, which now includes affordable rent, shared ownership and rent to buy, the programme will help meet the housing needs of a wider range of people in different circumstances and at different stages of their lives.
The scheme now includes a variety of tenures such as Rent to Buy, which will be let with rents set at or below 80% of the local market rent for a set time period.
“Our newly expanded affordable housing programme, turbo-charged by a multi-billion pound investment, will allow housing associations to build more homes in places where they are most needed, particularly for families who are just about managing,” said Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said.
Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) Chairman Sir Ed Lister said, “The HCA is leading the government’s drive to increase the scale and pace of delivery of housebuilding. The expanded affordable housing programme will help us continue to work with both housing associations and developers new to this area of the housing market to increase the availability of affordable homes.
“The expanded programme will also allow providers the flexibility and agility to respond to local needs and markets. This will boost housebuilding by encouraging providers to deliver a mix of homes for both affordable rent and low-cost ownership that is most suited to each place.”
The news has also been welcomed by the industry. “We are delighted to start the new year on such a strong footing with such a clear show of faith from the Government in our sector,” said David Orr, Chief Executive at the National Housing Federation. “We are delighted to start the new year on such a strong footing with such a clear show of faith from the Government in our sector.
“This funding and the relaxed restrictions for building affordable homes will enable housing associations to provide the right mix of houses. We are proud of the strong relationship that housing associations have with the new Government and will be working closely to ensure that we can deliver the homes people in this country need.”
More are expected to be announced in the housing white paper out later this month.