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Is there a shortage of affordable housing in England?

Posted on 16th September 2020 in Affordable Housing

Posted by

Stephen Burtchaell

Partner and Solicitor
Is there a shortage of affordable housing in England?

A recent BBC News article brings acutely into focus the desperate shortage of affordable housing in England. In particular affordable rented properties.


Is there a shortage of affordable housing in England?

There is a substantial annual shortfall in building affordable properties, whether they are for rent, shared ownership, or discounted sale. As the article points out, the National Housing Federation, the body that represents the majority of registered providers of affordable housing, estimates that 90,000 social rent homes are needed to be built each year for the next ten years to meet the demand but since 2010-11 the numbers being built have significantly reduced from a high of 40,000 pa to under 6,500 in 2018-2019.


Completed homes for social rent in England

Source: Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

Falling line graph showing Completed homes for social rent in England


How is the South West affordable housing market faring?

In the South West it is a particular problem because the affordability of houses are so high. In fact only the South East has a higher median income to average house price ratio with the South West’s averaging from over 10 x the local median salary up to approx. 15 depending on location.

This is not to ignore the considerable achievements registered providers make and are continuing to make by providing valuable affordable housing and by supporting communities.


What is being done?

It needs to be recognised however that with the latest proposals from the government to increase the threshold for which affordable housing must be provided under s. 106 agreements, which currently provides almost half of all affordable housing, as well as a new proposal for discounted sales by commercial developers, that the numbers of affordable homes and particularly rental homes, will be even more challenging to achieve.


Find out more

Tozers’ social housing team are fortunate enough to work with some of the most forward thinking and innovative registered providers in the South West who use their considerable skills to continue to develop at an impressive rate despite the challenges they face. We are proud to associate ourselves with the sector and regularly see first hand how their schemes and organisations support local communities from employing local trades and services to helping support families in need.

Our Affordable Housing team have over 25 years’ experience in this sector, forming close working relationships with their housing clients. To find out more about the areas they advise on and their bespoke services please visit their hub page or contact a member of the team.

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