Measures to support the building of new affordable rented homes is ‘desperately needed’, the Chartered Institute of Housing has said after it predicted nearly 250,000 of the cheapest rented homes could be lost between 2012 and 2020.
CIH made the projections after figures released by the government last week showed the total number of such homes available at social rent fell by more than 120,000 between 2012 and 2016.
Though 44,600 new homes were built for social rent over that period many more were lost because housing providers have converted them to higher affordable rents to raise extra income or sold them under the right to buy. And CIH is forecasting this will continue over the next four years.
Terrie Alafat CBE, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing, said, “The loss of so many of these types of homes is extremely worrying at a time we need more not less. It is positive that the government has announced new investment in housing in recent months but many of the homes which will be funded will still be out of reach to many people.
“What we’ve seen over the last four years is a very significant decline in the number of homes at social rent; the only type of accommodation which is accessible to a significant proportion of the population.
“If the government really wants to solve our housing crisis it must recognise that building more homes at genuinely affordable rents will be crucial to help those who need housing the most. We are urging it to consider how, at the very least, it can prevent this decline. We should be seeing an increase in numbers, not a significant decline.”
The projections suggest that 161,669 of the social rent losses between 2012 and 2020 will come from local authorities while housing associations will have lost a further 82,485.
The continuing decline is projected on the basis that the government has dedicated the bulk of funding to affordable rents offered at higher rates or shared ownership and that a similar level of conversions to higher rents and right to buy sales will continue.
PICTURE CREDIT: Albert Bridge