We are increasingly being told about the shortage of affordable housing in the UK, and while the previous government tried to kickstart a social housing development programme, spending millions of pounds, holding competitions and generally trying to build momentum, annual targets were still missed year on year, and the social housing waiting list continued to grow.
Thursday, 2 June 2011
Affordable Housing - the Spacehus way
A visualisation of a proposed Spacehus affordable home scheme
When the coalition government took power a year ago, the waiting list for housing stood at 5 million, creating a situation that required the government to decide how it would move forward quickly. Compounding the problem, housing ministers have faced a growing need for affordable housing over the past year, but have a lack of capital with which to provide it.
The government’s approach to the issue has been to allow Housing Associations to charge 80% of the market rental rate in a particular area. This approach is an indication that the government is reluctant to issue grants or raise new capital, and would rather develop a housing programme based upon revenue costs. This opposes the previous government’s strategy of allowing the Homes and Communities Agency, a government-created and funded organisation, to provide grants to Housing Associations which, in turn, charged an unrealistic £80 per week rent, with the remainder of the cost topped up with a capital grant.
During the past year however, there has been some denial from the Housing Associations about this strategy transition. Some of them have not understood what the coalition’s strategy was, and many have been waiting for the grant system to reappear. In this period there has been no development at all and the programme of social housing has fallen even further behind.
Only now are some Housing Associations realising that new homes will have to be delivered in a very different way to what they have been used to. Land values are very unpredictable and for projects to be viable, the land value would have to be incredibly low. The Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) also need the support of the private sector to pull together the appraisal and develop the investment over a period of time.
Housing Associations need to have a home solution that can be cost efficient, both in erection and performance, but they need to be quickly and efficiently erected, in order to effectively reduce waiting lists.
At _space group, we believe that the development of Spacehus responds to all of these issues.
Consider this: Spacehus consists of a range of timber framed houses including a 925ft2 3 bedroom house, an 800ft2 3 bedroom house and a 650ft2 2 bedroom house. The 925ft2 house costs less than £80,000 including a standard foundation solution, and each of these properties is energy efficient, with energy bills coming to just £10 a week.
These timber framed houses are manufactured in
to the highest standards and use a series of pre-constructed components which are assembled on site. These properties can be built in less than 20 days. Sweden
With a fixed cost for the house itself, the only variable a Spacehus scheme has are the roads and service connections, giving far more predictability to the appraisal. These properties can be delivered in any part of the
with no variation in cost. UK
The HCA are currently reviewing all applications from social landlords across the
for grant funding. Hopefully this small amount of grant funding will kickstart some developments, but will also draw a line under the wait for significant grants. UK
Hopefully RSLs will be innovative in their approach to finding solutions to the housing problem which the
currently finds itself in, and _space group is eager to assist in solving this problem. UK