A focus on delivering more social and affordable properties is key to boosting current housebuilding targets and solving the UK’s current housing crisis.
Increasing government funding for affordable housing, which has fallen dramatically since the 2008 financial crash, presents a prime opportunity to deliver more of the homes that people genuinely need.
Currently, there are more than one million people on the waiting list for social homes. In all, the demand for affordability, whether it be social rents or shared ownership, prevails throughout society.
Drilling down the stats, there is a shortfall of 66,000 affordable properties being brought to market each year.
According to the government’s long-term affordable housing strategy, only 44,000 properties of this type were delivered in 2018.
More affordable housing will add to, not displace, existing investment from the private sector, creating a win-win situation to grow housebuilding levels in line with demand.
Therefore, the government must prioritise funding these developments – the £3bn pledged in the Affordable Homes Guarantee Scheme is a good start, but much more capital needs to be committed long-term.
Stronger, tactical collaboration
The NHF and Savills report called for more joint ventures between the private sector, councils and housing associations, and increased use of long-term funding models such as the partnerships rolled out by Homes England and the Greater London Authority.
The research shows this would help ensure new funding aids overall housing stock delivery.
Without question, strategic partnerships are always going to be pivotal when building homes, since the process must be a collaboration between developers, their creative partners, planning consultants and local authorities.
In 2018, 79% of investment into property was in the private market.
Developers should seek proactive alliances with public sector bodies and local supply chains to enforce placemaking and complement local plans.
By aiming to improve the wider areas in which they are building, developers can help to advance healthcare and other vital community facilities that create a better standard of life for new housing residents.
Relying on private developers alone to meet housebuilding targets is fundamentally flawed.
Without government investment into affordable housing, their 300,000 target will be unsuitable to a great number of people.
If we are serious about ending the housing crisis, the government must do the right thing and invest in affordable housing, while empowering housing associations and social landlords to build more frequently.
The government’s Affordable Homes Programme and the Affordable Homes Guarantee Scheme are making headway.
However, greater commitment is required.
The public sector may not have lots of additional capital, but a sensible distribution of the funds already pledged to increase housebuilding levels will be a further step in the right direction.