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The Chartered Institute of Housing is the independent voice for housing and the home of professional standards

CIH responds to new Affordable Homes Programme announcement

08/09/2020


Today (Tuesday 8 September), Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick has launched new investment in housing to help the country build back better, including homes for social rent to help the most vulnerable.

Responding to the announcement, Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) chief executive, Gavin Smart said:

“Today’s announcement on the Affordable Homes Programme brings much needed certainty and will enable housing associations, local authorities and ALMOs to make investment decisions and keep the supply of desperately needed new affordable homes going. We are keen to see the detail when the prospectus is published though we already have questions over the balance of the programme. Whilst investment in lower-cost home-ownership is a legitimate government ambition it must not come at the expense of providing social rented homes, across the country, for those that need them the most.

Our analysis shows that government’s investment in housing is already disproportionately stacked in favour of home ownership and while we need more homes of all kinds, we particularly need homes at lower ‘social’ rents. There is a strong economic case for government to invest in this area as part of post-pandemic package to kick-start the economy and put homes at the heart of recovery and we’ll be making that point to the Treasury in our comprehensive spending review submission.

It is encouraging to see that providers across the country will be able to access funding for social rent, not just areas of high-demand, though the higher levels of subsidy required to deliver social rent will need to be made available to make this viable.”

The Housing Secretary has also announced a new model for Shared Ownership, alongside a consultation to ensure new homes deliver the accessibility that families need.

James Prestwich, CIH director of policy and external affairs, said:

“CIH has called for shared ownership to be seen as an important fourth tenure option, enabling people on lower incomes to access home ownership. Decreasing the initial share purchase to 10% will increase affordability though we have argued that people require very clear and transparent information to assess whether low cost home ownership is the right option for them.

The flexibility to staircase in 1% increments will be attractive in high value areas, but may not be so necessary in areas of lower value. It is important to remember that one of the benefits of shared ownership is the additional control and security it can provide over other housing options such as private renting, even when householders are not able to staircase to full ownership.

Shifting the full responsibility for and cost of repairs and maintenance onto the provider for the first 10 years will increase affordability and may increase the number of lenders prepared to offer mortgages for it. However, it will impact on providers’ business plans due to the increased costs, potentially decreasing their appetite for and ability to develop shared ownership in greater numbers. Lenders to the providers may also reduce their investment due to the need to factor what could be significant additional costs.”


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