On Monday, the government will publish its long-awaited housing strategy paper expected to propose building up to 450,000 homes between now and 2015. In Brighton & Hove 11,200 homes over the next 20 years looks increasingly like the target that will be adopted in the City Plan.
The government’s paper is expected to give details of how state-owned brownfield [previously developed] sites will be released for construction and a government-backed mortgage indemnity scheme will assist first-time buyers.
Under the mortgage indemnity scheme the government would cover the risk for the lender, which should enable first-time buyers to take out larger mortgages relative to the value of the property and their income.
Average UK housing deposits are £37,375 and in Brighton & Hove a buyer purchasing a one bed flat would need a deposit of over £40,000 and a salary of £38,000 [see earlier story]. A recent survey by Santander found that one third of UK non-homeowners believed they would never be able to afford a property. David Cameron is also expected to develop his aspiration to extend right-to-buy for council homes. The government has pledged to replace every sold home and build 100,000 new affordable homes; sites for 50,000 homes on government-owned land have already been identified and a "build now, pay later" model will relieve pressure on house builder’s cash flow.
The number of new homes built in Britain has fallen dramatically in the past five years. In 2010, the latest full year for which figures are available just 102,730 homes were built; down more than 15,000 from the previous year.
Meanwhile in the ongoing consultation on Brighton & Hove’s City Plan [formerly the Core Strategy] the council’s preferred option for 11,200 new homes is gathering increasing support from a wide variety of interested parties.
Although a housing need study prepared by G L Hearn indicates that the city’s actual requirement is between 15,800 and 19,400 homes up to 2030 there is general acceptance that such figures could not be achieved without radically altering the nature of the city forever with large scale loss of green space and employment land and an increase in tall buildings.
The Economic Partnership has attended three consultation presentations and hosted one of its own for businesses on Wednesday and all have shown considerable support for the 11,200 target while accepting that the city will have to work collaboratively with its neighbours to make up the difference.
The overwhelming majority of consultees at these events have shown a pragmatic acceptance of the need to build on Toads Hole Valley on the outskirts of the city to meet the target and possibly provide other benefits to the city [see earlier story].
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