New Homes England statistics show significant increase in affordable homes

New Homes England statistics show significant increase in affordable homes

Government housing accelerator Homes England has published its latest annual housing statistics looking at the period between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2019.

The findings show there were 45,692 new houses started on site under programmes managed by Homes England and 40,289 houses completed. These are the highest levels of starts for nine years and the highest levels of completions for four years.

Of the starts on site, 67 per cent were for affordable homes – a 10 per cent increase on 2017-18. Similarly 71 per cent of housing completions in 2018-19 were for affordable homes which is an 11 per cent increase on 2017-18 figures.

A total of 17,772 affordable homes started in 2018-19 were for Affordable Rent – a 4 per cent increase on the previous year. 11,560 were for schemes including Shared Ownership and Rent to Buy – a 24 per cent increase on 2017-18. The remaining 1,231 were for Social Rent – a 12 per cent decrease on the previous 12 months.

Of the affordable homes completed, 18,895 were for Affordable Rent – representing a 4 per cent decrease on the previous year, whereas the 8,854 completed under affordable housing schemes including Shared Ownership and Rent to Buy represent a 75 per cent increase on 2017-18.

Nick Walkley, chief executive of Homes England, said: “At a time where the average house costs around eight times the average income, these are positive signs that the delivery of homes, and particularly affordable homes, is on the up.

“However, there is still a huge amount of work to do to make sure this trend continues. We’re just getting started and need the sector to join us in our mission to make sure we continue to deliver homes across the country for the people who need them the most.”

Housing Minister, Kit Malthouse MP, said: “It’s great to see our housing accelerator has their foot firmly on the gas with nearly 29,000 new affordable homes finished last year.

“Getting these properties built is all part of our cast-iron commitment to making sure everyone has the opportunity to realise the dream of a stable home.

“But there is more to do, and so this Government is providing serious support, including £44 billion of funding and guarantees, to build more, better, faster.”

The figures reflect the latest set of official statistics in relation to housing starts and completions for England, excluding London, for all programmes except those administered by Homes England on behalf of the Greater London Authority.

The list of programmes included in these totals are detailed in the official housing statistics report, which can be found here.

L&G reveal first four housing schemes from their new affordable housing arm

L&G reveal first four housing schemes from their new affordable housing arm

Legal & General Affordable Homes has unveiled the locations of its first four affordable housing schemes. The sites in Croydon, Cornwall, Dunstable and Shrivenham will comprise 278 new homes.

Insurance firm L&G announced the launch of new subsidiary, L&G Affordable Homes, back in April. The housing provider is aiming to deliver 3,000 homes annually within the next four years.

While Croydon, Cornwall, Dunstable and Shrivenham are the first schemes announced, L&G says it’s also secured a further pipeline of over 40 sites across the UK, facilitating their ambition to provide 1,500 homes in the next 24 months.

Across the four acquired sites, Legal & General will deliver a mix of social and affordable rental homes, grant-supported shared ownership homes and Section 106 schemes.

The first of these homes to be completed are in Leon House in Croydon and will be available from June 2019. This scheme comprises 50 shared ownership apartments in a well-linked London location.

Legal & General’s second acquisition in Cornwall is a Joint Venture with Coastline Housing Limited. L&G’s financial backing will support Coastline in its ambition to double its affordable housing completions to 600 per annum. The partnership’s first scheme in Falmouth will comprise 44 affordable homes across two building phases, available from June 2019.

The schemes in Dunstable and Shrivenham are being delivered under Section 106 agreements. Phoenix Park in Dunstable will be available to buyers from Q4 2019, comprising 23 shared ownership apartments.

The Shrivenham development has been acquired from Legal & General’s own house building arm, Legal & General Homes. This will deliver 109 homes at affordable rents and 52 shared ownership units. Homes will be available during the first half of 2020.

Ben Denton, managing director of Legal & General Affordable Homes, says: “There is an urgent need to accelerate the delivery of new affordable homes. We have made a great start in executing our development programme, alongside building our customer service platforms.

“[This announcement] marks the real start of our journey as we deliver our first affordable homes, working alongside high quality local providers to tackle the growing crisis.

“As demonstrated by the scope and range of our acquisitions and the significant pipeline we have secured, we remain committed to offering a choice of tenures to our future residents; deploying institutional capital at scale and pioneering new partnership models, such as the one we have set up with Coastline.

“This range of routes to market will help us meet our ambition to become a leading affordable housing provider in the UK and delivering the volume of affordable homes which the country desperately needs.”

Construction starts at £1bn Beam Park scheme in east London

Construction starts at £1bn Beam Park scheme in east London

The regeneration of Beam Park has officially begun, with construction work now underway. A groundbreaking ceremony was held at the site marking the start of construction and the completion of preparatory work.

London’s Deputy Mayor for Housing and Residential Development James Murray was in attendance, along with senior leaders from Countryside and L&Q.

The east London regeneration project will transform the derelict site of a former Ford manufacturing plant into the new 3,000-home Beam Park site, spanning 71.7 acres.

Charitable housing association L&Q and home builder Countryside are working in partnership to bring the project to fruition.

The development is the second-largest housing scheme in the UK to gain planning permission in 2018. It’s also one of only three regeneration schemes in London delivering 3,000 homes and providing 50 per cent of affordable housing (1,513 homes).

The first phase of the development will deliver 640 new homes and new community facilities, including a medical centre and railway station.

The Beam Park station is located on the C2C line, providing direct links into central London. Phase one will also see the delivery of a primary school and park.

Sales of the new homes are due to launch in May this year, with the first properties ready in 2020. The first phase of the development is due to be finished by 2022, with the full Beam Park scheme due for completion in 2030.

The completed site will include a further school along with retail spaces, a gym, nursery, a multi-faith space and two energy centres.

Andy Rowland, managing director for the east region, commented: “We’re delighted to be celebrating the start of construction works on site at Beam Park.

“This project will bring major benefits to east London, including much needed quality new homes with 50 per cent affordable housing, alongside significant infrastructure improvements and community amenities.

“Working with Countryside, we’re proud to be involved in making such an important contribution to London’s housing needs, meeting strong local demand by creating new homes in a wide range of tenures.”

Robert Wilkinson, managing director of partnerships south (east) for Countryside, added: “We have the incredible opportunity to create a thriving new destination in east London, delivering one of London’s largest housing developments, with 3,000 homes, two schools, community facilities, retail spaces, a railway station and much more.

“Beam Park will undoubtedly have a truly transformative impact across the area with community and the wellbeing at the heart of our plans.

“This site has an incredible history, and we’re looking forward to utilising our extensive track record in regeneration with L&Q to bring this next chapter to life ensuring the legacy is captured while embracing modernity.”

Town and Country Housing joins Peabody Group, boosting its housing output

Town and Country Housing joins Peabody Group, boosting its housing output

Town and Country Housing (TCHG) has joined the Peabody Group, becoming a subsidiary of the G15 housing provider.

The housing association currently provides more than 9,500 affordable homes in 15 local authority areas in Kent and Sussex.

The move to become part of the Peabody Group was originally announced in November 2018. It’s now been agreed following a period of consultations with residents and stakeholders and gaining the relevant consents.

Although it’s joining the Peabody family, Town and Country Housing will retain its name and operate as a subsidiary.

The link-up will enable the two organisations to combine their strength and build 800 new homes across the South East every year – 500 more than Kent-based TCHG would be able to deliver on its own.

It takes Peabody’s new homes target to 3,300 per year from 2021.

The move sees TCHG CEO Bob Heapy joining Peabody’s executive team, and the company’s chair, Francis Salway, joining the Peabody board.

A joint statement from Lord Kerslake, chair of Peabody, and Francis Salway said: “This combines the strength of two organisations to deliver more much-needed affordable homes in the South East.

“Becoming part of the Peabody family, while remaining as a separate subsidiary, will help strengthen Town and Country’s offer in the South East, ensuring Peabody remains focused on its heartland in London.”

The Peabody Group now owns and manages more than 66,000 homes across London and the South East.

Peabody through the years

In 2017 Peabody completed a merger with Family Mosaic. As a result, the housing association has homes spread across 29 London boroughs along with homes in Essex, Sussex, Hampshire and Kent.

Read more about Peabody’s growth and development here.

For more information about Town and Country Housing, click here.

Catalyst Housing Ltd to partner TfL for 100 per cent affordable homes scheme in Harrow

Catalyst Housing Ltd to partner TfL for 100 per cent affordable homes scheme in Harrow

Transport for London has selected Catalyst Housing Ltd as its preferred bidder to deliver around 450 homes in Harrow, all of which will be affordable.

The project will see three car parks developed in the borough to deliver the new homes, with the sites being brought forward using the Greater London Authority’s ‘London Development Panel 2′ (LDP2).

Catalyst will start detailed designs and will consult the local community before a planning application is submitted in 2019/20. The housing association, which is a member of the G15 group, has more than 21,000 homes in London and the South East.

Ian McDermott, chief executive of Catalyst said: “Catalyst is pleased to have been selected by TfL as its partner on the first opportunity to come through the London Development Panel 2 since its creation.

“All three of these schemes will provide 100% genuinely affordable housing for Londoners, and we are really looking forward to working with TfL and Harrow Council to create these new, vibrant communities.”

The three car park sites in the scheme are located at Canons Park Underground Station, Rayners Lane Underground Station and Stanmore Underground Station. TfL plans to retain commuter car parking at the three sites along with the new homes. Plans also include improvements to the localities including new trees and enhanced pedestrian and cycling connectivity.

TfL will also work with the London Borough of Harrow and local stakeholders to improve the step free access at Stanmore station.

Graeme Craig, director of commercial development at TfL, added: “We’re delighted to have appointed Catalyst as our partner and look forward to working with them to deliver hundreds of affordable homes at these prime locations next to Tube stations.

“This is another important milestone in our programme across the capital that is delivering thousands of new affordable homes, creating thousands of new jobs and generating vital revenue to reinvest in the transport network.”

Harrow tradition

Councillor Keith Ferry, deputy leader of Harrow Council, said: “Our community is crying out for affordable homes for Harrow people – so we are delighted to welcome TfL’s plans to build a better Harrow.

“Our borough was born out of the need for new homes for hardworking people near railway links – and we are pleased to see that tradition continue today.”

LDP2 enables TfL to bring sites forward with a partner who has a proven track record of delivering housing on public sector land. This new London Development Panel replaces the first LDP, which expired in 2017.

TfL has a programme in place that will see it develop 300 acres to deliver more than 10,000 homes across London. It has already submitted planning applications for more than 4,200 homes, and since May 2016, 50 per cent of its homes have been affordable.

Chartered Institute of Housing looks at effect of short-term lets on long-term residents

Chartered Institute of Housing looks at effect of short-term lets on long-term residents

The UK Housing Review 2019 has revealed a rapid growth of short-term lets in particular locations across the country. It suggests that Airbnb alone has over 77,000 lets in Greater London, 55.4 per cent of which are entire homes. Breaking those numbers down further reveals the bulk of the lets are heavily concentrated in the Westminster (8,328), Tower Hamlets (7,513) and Hackney (5,907) boroughs.

It’s not just cities though. While Edinburgh has over 10,000 short-term lets, with its city centre ward alone having two Airbnb lets for every 13 homes, the Isle of Skye in rural Scotland has one Airbnb letting for every 10 houses.

The new analysis from the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) reveals that while such an increase of short-term lets has been beneficial to tourists and landlords, its impact on the private rented sector could be less glowing if left unregulated. It suggests that the growth of the short-term lets market could lead to the loss of private rented homes and the displacement of long-term residents from their communities

The rise of Airbnb has created what is being called ‘globalhoods’ – ultra-desirable neighbourhoods drawing in visitors from across the globe at an ever-increasing rate. The review identifies a cause for concern if these properties move from the private rented sector to the short-term lettings sector for part of each year, and even greater cause for concern if they become permanent short-term lets, unavailable to locals.

The report outlines the potential impact of the growth in short-term lets, including the issue of regulation, the effect on an area’s communal spaces, conveniences and facilities, and the impact on local housing markets.

CIH chief executive Terrie Alafat CBE said: “Digital platforms like Airbnb have brought great convenience to tourists who come to enjoy our cities and communities, as well as economic benefit to their hosts and local areas.

“However, if left unregulated, there is a real risk of loss of much-needed housing from the private rented sector to the short-term lets market, and displacement of long-term residents.

“We need to find a way to accommodate the housing needs of individual residents while allowing tourism to continue in our most popular locations. More regulation could be necessary if growth continues and local authorities still have no way to accurately monitor numbers.”

Suggestions for tackling such issues are included in the review, ranging from: ensuring better data exists on short-term lets so local authorities can keep track of their growth and location (Airbnb have pioneered this in Barcelona); introducing a modest local tourism tax to assist local authorities in the monitoring and regulation of the short-term lettings sector; and caps on the number of short-term rentals in particular high-pressure areas.

The UK Housing Review 2019 report is available here.