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UK’s largest open Build To Rent development goes after graduates

2020-02-17T11:25:04+00:00February 17th, 2020|

The UK’s largest open Build To Rent development is going after graduates pitching ‘pay to stay’ with a twist. Grainger plc hopes its Clippers Quay scheme in Manchester means graduates who studied in the city feel at home – while offering a nationally applicable solution to the need for key worker housing. Manchester currently retains 51% of its graduates but lags behind London, which keeps 77% of graduates. Grainger’s going after the mid-market, with apartments affordable to young professionals and key workers sharing, requiring an average annual household income of £27,000. Prices for a one-bed apartment start at £900pcm. And apartments are let on a ‘stay as long as you want’ policy, with optional long-term tenancies. With 614 homes over five blocks, Clippers Quay is the biggest purpose-built rental housing scheme of its kind in the country outside of London. Grainger says the £27,000 threshold – calculated at rent taking up no more than a third of a person’s annual income – makes an apartment at Clippers Quay affordable to sharers on a graduate salary of £20,870 in Manchester, according to the Centre for Cities. They are also within reach for teachers and nurses, who start on c. £22,000, and are [...]

Real estate professionals sceptical over plugging housing gap

2020-02-17T10:24:47+00:00February 17th, 2020|

Over half of real estate professionals in the UK say the government’s target of 300,000 new homes a year is too low. New research by innovation and property specialists Engen Group – which focusses on addressing environmental challenges such as affordable and sustainable housing – shows such a view is shared by 58% of the profession. And the survey solidifies scepticism about the government’s ability to meet this target, with the consensus (96%) agreeing this target will be missed over the next few years. In addition, two thirds (62%) of those questioned are not confident that the government will stick to its recent promises to address the housing crisis. As a result, 64% predict the housing shortage will worsen over the next five years, and only 14% expect it to improve. In addition, 44% believe that affordability will get worse over the next 10 years, 30% feel it will remain the same as today, and only 26% predict that it will improve. “Our findings highlight the challenge that government and local councils face when it comes to addressing the housing crisis,” said Engen Group CEO Graeme Boiardini. “There is an imbalance between income and house prices, which is being compounded [...]

Commons clash over office to ‘home’ conversions

2020-02-14T13:03:30+00:00February 14th, 2020|

  Where accommodation created from office conversions counts toward New Homes Bonus payments, councils don’t have the incentive to restrict such conversions, the Commons heard. At Westminster Hall, members debated how to regulate residential office block conversions under Permitted Development Rights (PDR). The Hall heard calls for all such conversions to be closed down, but MHCLG minister Luke Hall – standing in for Esther McVey, sacked as Housing Minister earlier in the day – said PDR made “ an important contribution to housing delivery.” Tory Rob Halfon secured the debate on the extent of such conversions in Essex – with specific reference to his Harlow constituency. There, members heard, around 1,100 units have been created with none of which has been tested against the requirements of the local plan. That, said Halfon came with attendant social issues and the temptation for London borough councils to house their homeless in the blocks. “Permitted development rights were never meant to be about building ghettos. “There have to be rules, particularly about quality, and councils must have some say in how office blocks are converted,” he said. Councils have had powers to restrict permitted development rights under an article 4 direction at least [...]

Report reveals extent of poor health in homeless women

2020-02-14T10:28:28+00:00February 14th, 2020|

A new report has today (14th February) revealed the extent in which poor health can be caused by rough sleeping – as well as stressing the high health needs of women experiencing homelessness. Conducted by Groundswell and funded by the Greater London Authority, the research is aimed at understanding more about the health conditions women are facing and how their housing issues affect their health. Researchers who have experience of homelessness were involved in all stages of the research process – a “crucial factor” in the success of the project. According to the findings, participants had long histories of homelessness in which physical and mental health were contributing factors to their situation. It also finds: Participants often had long and complex histories of homelessness; 65% had been homeless for more than a year, and 42% had been homeless at least once before The three main reasons participants cited for becoming homeless included relationship breakdown and/or family breakdown, physical health issues and domestic violence 59% either agreed or strongly agreed that their health had contributed to them becoming homeless Reasons participants became homeless were often a result of gender inequality; 39% had experienced Most participants were also said to be living [...]

Johnson names Chris Pincher new housing minister

2020-02-14T11:57:50+00:00February 13th, 2020|

Chris Pincher is the latest name to take on the housing brief. He becomes the tenth housing minister in the last ten years and the fourth in the last three years. However, it was also announced that he will not be receiving the same cabinet privileges as his predecessor, as the Housing Minister post has been taken off the Cabinet attendee list. He is the MP for Tamworth and has been since 2010. He was previously Minister of State for Europe and the Americas. His voting record in the Commons reads much like his formers, constantly voting against raising benefits and for policies such as the Bedroom Tax. On housing, he voted for ending lifetime tenancies and for charging market rents to high earning council tenants. On his appointment, Pincher said: “Delighted to be appointed as the Minister of State for Housing – though sad to be leaving a great team at Foreign Office. This Government will deliver on our commitment to build the housing that people need. Looking forward to getting stuck in alongside Robert Jenrick.” Earlier today, Jenrick was confirmed as staying on as Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, despite national TV performances. Last [...]

Khan’s new housing stats for the capital called into question

2020-02-13T12:58:06+00:00February 13th, 2020|

Political opponents of London’s mayor have questioned new figures which show that Sadiq Khan is on track to start 17,000 genuinely affordable homes across the capital this year. According to data released by the Greater London Authority (GLA), between March and December 2019, 12,546 genuinely affordable homes were started in London, nearly three quarters (74%) of the mayor’s annual target. This is a hefty increase on the 42% that had been started by this stage of 2018-19. But Andrew Boff, the Conservatives’ housing spokesman at the GLA, said Khan had failed to deliver homes quickly enough and cast doubt on the accuracy of the latest figures. “Housing starts are of course important, but so are completions,” said Boff. “We know that over the course of his term the mayor has completed barely a third of the inadequate number of homes that he started. “This painfully slow progress means that Londoners are finding it harder than ever to get onto the housing ladder.” “This mayor has a penchant for cooking the books when it comes to housing figures, having shamelessly counted restarts in the past. “This could raise questions over whether these disappointing figures are even accurate”, he added. As reported [...]

Rory Stewart unveils 250,000-home ‘masterplan’ using TfL land

2020-02-12T14:00:50+00:00February 12th, 2020|

Independent mayoral candidate Rory Stewart has today (12th February) promised London’s biggest affordable housing programme “in more than a generation” with 250,000 new homes built over the next five years. Announcing the pillars of his housing policy, Stewart said if elected to lead City Hall in May he would immediately set up a ‘Mayor’s Building Company’ — run by “serious hard-hitters” in industry rather than politicians. This would be handed thousands of acres of surplus Transport for London (TfL) land that could be used by private developers, housing associations and councils – introducing a “use it or lose it” policy to combat the prevalence of stalled sites across the city. The former Tory MP has also slammed the current Mayor, Sadiq Khan, for “failing to build the houses London needs”. As reported by 24housing, figures obtained by the London Assembly Tories show that by the end of last year just 12,294 of the 34,515 homes started since the Mayor came to power in May 2016 had been completed. By contrast, Stewart has said that his Just Build It! plan will be driven by a focus on immediate housing delivery, and long-term investment on behalf of all Londoners. He also plans [...]

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