Land assembly powers could transform housing supply
Home Group, one of the UK’s largest providers of homes for sale and affordable rent, has welcomed the Chancellor’s investment in estate regeneration and land assembly, saying that tackling supply-side challenges could significantly increase the number of homes being built.
Philip Hammond’s investment of £2.7 billion for housing infrastructure and £1.1 billion to unlock land has been hailed as a positive step by the national housing provider, who aim to build at least 10,000 new homes by 2021.
Of course, Home Group is keen to see more of the detail on this commitment and work closely with government to ensure that housing associations are equipped to build quality homes of the right kind in the right places.
Brian Ham, executive director of development, Home Group, said: “Budget announcements today have been broadly positive for housing. The investment in estate regeneration, including the £1.1 billion to unlock land, the £2.7 billion for housing infrastructure and the focus on planning reform will allow us to get on and build the right kind of homes in the right places.
“The availability of land is key in terms of supply and affordability of homes – often because there isn’t enough land available when and where it is most needed. This new fund will also support developers in working more efficiently, while delivering a return for Her Majesty’s Treasury – which in itself can lead to the creation of even more homes.”
“This new approach to land assembly will hopefully promote a bigger drive towards joint ventures and partnerships.”
Home Group currently has eleven joint ventures or partnerships with local authorities and other developers, including Gateshead BIG and Hull City Wide – two major regeneration projects. It believes that by working collaboratively, partnerships can address housing, health, infrastructure and skills development as a whole, creating great places where people want to live and work, as opposed to simply increasing the quantity of homes available.
Brian added: “Support for home ownership was also in the spotlight today, particularly with regards to help to buy and stamp duty announcements, as well as the voluntary right to buy pilot which is being rolled out in the West Midlands. We know that 87% of our customers want to own their own home, and, as a housing provider we continually look for new ways to support our customers’ aspirations in addition to having access to these government initiatives. So it’s great to see the government getting on with voluntary right to buy, but in order for all of our customers to take advantage of this, it needs to be rolled out nationally. Home Group is ready, willing and able to offer this and we are keen to work with government to get the detail right across the country.
“Overall, it’s good to see that government is taking the housing crisis seriously. However, it’s also good to see they acknowledge that this is no ‘magic’ bullet – it won’t solve this crisis overnight. But we are keen to work closely with government to affect further change and provide real support to vulnerable people going forward.”
“Housing associations can and do use land efficiently, and always with one target in mind – increasing opportunities for people already living in local communities.”