London’s affordable housing starts ‘well behind’ average

The majority (59%) of Mayoral-supported starts in 2018/19 were for intermediate tenure homes.

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London Assembly Housing Committee has today (13th June) released a report which tracks how the Mayor is delivering affordable homes in London.

The annual report, Affordable Housing Monitor, outlines a series of figures which assess the Mayor’s housing commitments in the capital.

The introduction includes an estimate from the Mayor himself, which states London needs around 66,000 new homes each year.

According to the Assembly, 2017/18 saw 32,000 of those projected homes built – around 48% of what is needed.

Over 7,500 affordable homes supported by the Mayor were said to be completed in 2018/19, a “significant increase” on last year, but one that the report states is “still well behind” the average of over 10,000 per year in the preceding decades when different funding arrangements were in place.

In terms of the overall number of housing starts so far this Mayoral term, the average is  29% higher than in the previous term. However, it is still 3% lower than in 2008-12.

Also addressed is the capitals need for around 31,000 homes to be built each year at social rent level.

Although progress is said to have been made towards addressing this, the report added that figures are still “far behind” what they need to be.

Almost half (48%) of homes built should be at social rent levels, but only a fifth of affordable starts this term have been at this low rent, according to the report.

The report continued: “In some boroughs where there have been relatively few affordable starts, a higher proportion of those starts have been at social rent levels, which is more expensive to provide.”

The Mayor is also said to have secured £4.82bn in government funding for affordable homes and has committed to start 116,000 by 2022.

To date 41,704 have started, amounting to 36%.

Today (13th June), the Committee will analyse the monitor, the Mayor’s funding programmes and delivery of affordable homes in the last year.

The affordable housing delivery meeting will also consider the wider market context and the likely impact of his new funding for council homes.

Guests include Deputy Mayor James Murray, and David Lunts, executive director of Housing Land, GLA.

Commenting on the report, chair of the Housing Committee Tom Copley AM said: “The Mayor has delivered the highest number of affordable housing starts in any year since 2010/11.

“It was promising to see nearly 4,000 homes at social rent levels started, up from zero in 2016/17 when the Mayor took office.

Lunts added: “However, government-imposed funding conditions mean that the majority of new starts are for intermediate tenures, despite the bulk of need being for homes at social rent levels.

“There is room for the Mayor to go further, and we’ll be putting questions about this report to the deputy Mayor and the executive director for housing today.”

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