11 March, 2019
Homes England introduced Strategic partnerships in 2018, an ambitious new mission to partnership with all areas of the housing industry sector to provide a response to the long-term housing challenges facing our country. The plan announced in the 2018 budget was to secure £653 million in grant funding from the Affordable Homes Programme, which will deliver an additional 13,475 affordable homes by March 2022. By partnering with housing associations Homes England is enabling more land and funding to be released to developers who want to make a difference and invest in places that have the greatest need to deliver new homes. The deals on offer to housing associations through these partnerships also include homes for social rent in areas where affordability pressures are high.
This new vision for Homes England intends to bring about a change in the housing sector and encourage small builders to bring innovations to the market to improve not only the quality of affordable houses being built, but also the speed at which they are built to ease the housing crisis that is being experienced across the country.
In 1988 more than 12,000 small to medium builders were responsible for nearly 40% of all new homes, in 2017 this had declined significantly to only 12% of new homes being provided by small to medium builders. This change in the market has resulted in the housing market being dependent on a small number of big house builders being responsible for almost all new homes being built. The result of this change is that the number of new homes needed in England cannot be delivered by the builders who have the market share and the financial resources to build on the land that is currently available.
The Strategic Partnerships will unlock funding for small house builders to enable them to access land that they would previously have been unable to build upon due to various cost factors, bringing about a must needed change back to, hopefully, a higher percentage of new homes being delivered by small to medium house builders.
The first wave of partnerships proved to be successful and in October 2018 a further 7 strategic partnerships were announced.
Jackie Jacob, Homes England General Manager for Affordable Housing Programmes said:
"Homes England is working with housing associations across England who are prepared to be more ambitious to significantly increase housing delivery and we welcome these seven new partnerships announced in the Budget 2018.
"We have challenged housing associations to respond to a new way of engaging strategically with Homes England and the response has been excellent - we hope to be announcing more partnerships between Homes England and housing associations in the coming months."
The vision for Homes England over the next few years is innovative and inclusive and should bring about the change needed in the housing market to bring affordable homes to purchase and rent to the areas that need it most and helping to increase the number of home owners in the next generation who would be unable to own their own home due to current house prices reaching up to 8 times an average annual salary in some areas.
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