The number of affordable homes that were completed in the UK between 2017 and 2018 amounts to 47,355, which is a 12 per cent increase when compared to the period 2016 to 2017, according to official data from the UK government.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s (MHCLG) new data also revealed a 12 per cent increase in the number of new affordable homes that were delivered between 2017 and 2018. 90 per cent of these were new-builds while the remainder were acquisitions. This figure represents an 11 per cent increase in the total number of starts on new-build sites in England, totalling 53,572.
The recent MHCLG data also includes acquisitions and new builds from the private property market that have been bought for use as an affordable home, however, it doesn’t factor in losses through demolitions or sales.
Affordable housing as defined by the MHCLG includes affordable rented, social rented and intermediate housing, which is offered to specific eligible households that aren’t able to access housing through the property market.
Andrew Lloyd, Managing Director at Search Acumen, commented on the data: “It’s encouraging to see recent drives to increase the supply of affordable housing start to reach fruition, with over 47,000 affordable homes delivered in 2017 to 2018. But we have a lot of work to do – National Housing Federation estimates suggest we need to be building more than 140,000 affordable properties a year to help satisfy demand.”
Kate Davies, Executive Director at Imla, had similar concerns over the number of affordable homes that are currently being completed by the government. “The recent Letwin Report highlighted a number of issues hampering the development of affordable property.”
She also said, “We would urge the government to prioritise the necessary processes to speed up planning and construction, so that households on modest incomes can have a realistic opportunity to buy or rent their own home.”
Back in September 2018, the Prime Minister Theresa May made an announcement during a speech given to the National Housing Federation about the UK government’s plan to spend £2 billion towards increasing the nation’s affordable and social housing stock.
This was echoed in the Autumn Budget 2018 when Chancellor Philip Hammond announced that the UK government had struck deals with nine housing associations in order to deliver 13,000 more homes in England. He also promised a further amount of funding of £500 million for the Housing Infrastructure Fund, which is available for local councils to apply to when building new homes.
Rise in the number of affordable rent homes completed
The latest figures from MHCLG found that the most common type of affordable homes that were delivered over the period from 2013 to 2014 were affordable rent homes. From 2017 to 2018, there was a total of 26,838 new affordable rent homes completed, making up 57 per cent of all completed affordable homes in the UK during this time period.
The data revealed that there were 8.5 affordable homes completed for every 10,000 members of the English population in 2017 to 2018.
According to the data released by MHCLG, the number of affordable homes that are completed each year has varied from 2011 to 2012. The reason for this is that every affordable housing project in the UK is subject to funding and development programmes. Also, the number of affordable homes delivered annually is typically lower during the first few years of a new building development.
The number of affordable homes that were completed in the UK peaked in the year 2014 to 2015, which is in part due to the termination of the 2011 to 2015 affordable homes programme. The new data revealed that there was another surge in the number of affordable homes that were completed between 2015 and 2016, due to the transition to the new 2016 to 2021 affordable homes programme.
Changing trends in affordable housing
The MHCLG data also revealed that there has been a change in the tenure profile of completed affordable homes since the period 2011 to 2012. Before this, social rent was the most common form of completed affordable home, but since the government introduced affordable rent in 2011 to 2012, this has since become the most common tenure type of affordable home completed.
This change in tenure type is partly due to the affordable homes programme introduced by the government, which has funded more affordable rent tenure homes in preference to social rent affordable homes.
When comparing the new data for the number of affordable homes that were delivered from 2017 to 2018, 66 per cent were delivered by both the GLA and Homes England, which is consistent with the year 2016 to 2017 at 67 per cent. All of the remaining completed affordable homes were reported by local authorities and other delivery partners.
The amount of completed affordable rent homes during 2017 to 2018 mostly came via housing associations with Homes England, the GLA or independent funding. There has been a reduction in the share of affordable homes being funded through Affordable Housing Guarantees compared to previous years due to the fact that this programme is nearing its end.