A new national housing agency – Homes England – has been launched as the successor to the Homes and Communities Agency.
The new agency will secure land where people want to live and support smaller and more innovative housebuilders.
According to Communities Secretary Sajid Javid, Homes England will play a major role delivering an average of 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s.
Housing Secretary Sajid Javid said, “This government is determined to build the homes our country needs and help more people get on the housing ladder. Homes England will be at the heart of leading this effort.”
Nick Walkley, Chief Executive of Homes England, said, “As Homes England, we will use our land, finance and expertise to expand the delivery of affordable new homes and connect ambitious partners to remove barriers to housebuilding.
Sir Ed Lister, Chairman of Homes England, added, “We will take the lead in delivering better quality homes and great places that set the bar high for others. We will also stimulate demand for Modern Methods of Construction and ultimately disrupt the housing market.”
Homes England will develop a new commercial approach to acquiring, preparing, managing and developing land in areas of high demand and strategic importance. By focusing on using both the land and money to support builders of all sizes to increase supply will continue to support accelerated construction on a selection of sites.
Meeting housing demand is also about supporting the SME sector and over £750 million of the £1 billion short term fund has been committed to SMEs, custom builders and developers using modern methods of construction which will result in over 25,500 homes being built. Homes England will support this initiative and SME builders to grow their businesses and build more homes.
The move has been welcomed by housebuilders, however industry bodies have warned that the new organisation must work closely with local authorities.
Cllr Martin Tett, the Local Government Association’s Housing spokesman, said, “For it to be a success, it is crucial that the agency works positively with local government to deliver the mix of homes, infrastructure and places that people want to see. Every local housing market is different and councils must be able to combine and use Homes England funding flexibly to meet local need and take local opportunities.”
Terrie Alafat CBE, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing, added, “The key here is that the new homes are delivered by working closely with local partners to make sure we build the right homes, in the right places and that people can afford them.”