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AHC calls for £1.3bn affordable homes fund

Jake Carter

September 23, 2020

housing

Housing experts are calling for a £1.3bn fund from the government to convert existing properties into affordable homes.

The Affordable Housing Commission (AHC) has encouraged the government to launch a ring-fenced National Housing Conversion Fund.

This fund would provide an alternative method as to purchasing land intended for new developments.

A report published by the housing commission has outlined a two-pronged approach, the first of which is to target funds in order to purchase homes on the secondary, existing, market.

The report stated: “It examines which housing markets, in broad terms, the investment might be best aimed at, factoring in how it could help improve housing condition and support jobs and growth.”

The commission said this option could be weighted to support weaker housing markets by providing a floor for the market and helping those struggling and desperately needing to sell.

It said: “Funding could be made contingent on investing in a property to raise standards.

“By focusing on low demand housing areas a higher proportion of the investment would target jobs and growth rather than land costs in high demand places, where the economic rationale is weaker.”

Phase two concerns additional funding for social landlords to purchase homes for sale being built by housebuilders and converting them to social and affordable housing.

The commission said that with sites stalled and the prospect of construction workers losing their jobs, this approach would meet the strategic objective of making more housing affordable, as well as the shorter-term goal of supporting the recovery.

It added: “It would also ensure that capacity and capabilities within the housebuilding industry is not lost due to the downturn but retained for when a recovery materialises.”

The case for a National Housing Conversion Fund rests on both the urgent need to increase social and affordable housing and rebalance the housing system, but also as a quick and cost effective way of supporting the economy, according to Affordable Housing Commission.

It said: “As demonstrated in this report, such a scheme could also improve housing conditions and contribute to the government’s strategic ambitions to level up the economy and reduce carbon emissions.”


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