Housing White Paper

White Paper on affordable homes via secure rental and new ownership options

  • 6 Feb 2017

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howardchapmanHoward Chapman, Buildingtalk Editor, looks at the latest UK housing strategy for England to be unveiled in a White Paper tomorrow promising affordable secure rental and new home ownership options.

Housing Minister Gavin Barwell admitted yesterday on the BBC’s Sunday Politics that the recent government record on affordable housing was ‘embarrassing’ and, ahead of the publication of the White Paper, the government said the ‘housing market is broken’.

Affordable homes to rent

Currently there are 4.3 million people in private rental homes. It is likely that for the first time in decades, councils will be encouraged to get involved in building homes for affordable rent, at least 20% below the market.

There will also be more help for those prefer to rentby reducing the cost of rentals and increasing the length of tenancy agreements. Planning rules will be relaxed to enable more homes to be built for rent by developers as part of their obligations to fund affordable homes.

Affordable homes to buy

However, the White Paper will also reaffirm the Tories commitment to reversing the decline in home ownership with new initiatives on this front too, not least because the manifesto they were elected on promised that ‘everyone who works hard should be able to own a home of their own’.

The report in The Guardian today, ahead of the White paper, says that the Tories accept the system is ‘broken’ and will offer greater rights for tenants and more opportunity for young people to buy their first home. I hope it is truly a change of direction towards more practical options that will begin to address the housing crisis.

Recent Buildingtalk articles on the search for affordable housing solutions

Are prefabricated homes the answer to UK’s affordable housing crisis?

How Brexit will it affect affordable and social housing

Garden villages and towns: a step in the right direction

£2.5bn joint venture with China to build affordable modular homes in UK

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2 comments on “White Paper on affordable homes via secure rental and new ownership options

  • Latest on the White Paper.
    Government admit it is lagging behind schedule and the UK will not build the 250,000 new homes that are needed each year. The housing shortage is set to get worse before it gets better.
    Government will look at ways to utilise offsite build technology to help build 100,000 modular homes over the course of this Parliament.
    Other measures include: new housing strategy for England that will give councils powers to pressure developers to start building on land they own; forcing councils to produce an up-to-date plan for housing demand; reduction in time allowed between planning permission and building start from 3 to 2 years; and a £3bn fund to help smaller building firms challenge major developers.
    All this while promising to maintain protection for the green belt, which can only be built on ‘in exceptional circumstances’.

  • Paul Goodman, chairman of the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers (NACFB):
    “Today’s white paper should have been a solid assertion that small and midsize construction companies are going to get the support they need to start building in serious numbers.
    Instead, if Sajid Javid’s speech to Parliament is anything to go by, it just looks like the government is re-treading old ground.
    The government’s commitment to ‘innovative’ building practices and its re-assertion of the pledges made around the £3bn Home Building Fund is encouraging, but we heard all this last year.
    What our broker members are seeing on the ground is that funders have a real appetite to financially support these developments – so there’s clearly a disconnect.
    Education has an important part to play here. High Street lenders can play a large part in funding these developments, but construction SMEs should be aware that there are a range of funding options available to them – beyond just the High Street.
    It is therefore vital that the government emphasises the range of financial options available to SME builders, and that they can continue to access the finance they need to get Britain building.”

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