The importance of affordable home developments

JV NorthNews

JV North Chairman Nigel Wilson explains the sector should not lose sight of the core rented model.

After months of conjecture, we will know more about our futures on November 25 when the Comprehensive Spending Review is delivered along with the Autumn Statement.

Rumsfeldian unknowns and known unknowns aside, what we do know is that there is a new direction of travel for the sector.

We also know the sector needs to do more with less, achieve even greater value for money and be more financially independent, especially regarding development.

Significantly, we know the country still needs an affordable rented housing offer and by default that requires a subsidy.

While the focus is currently moving towards ownership tenure in general, we should not lose sight of the core, rented model.

It will continue to play a fundamental role especially given home ownership will remain out of the reach of so many and looks like it will for the foreseeable future.

Government’s announcement of five more years of austerity and the expected (and inevitable) interest rate rises will have an impact on how many will become homeowners.

It is worth bearing in mind that just a few years ago landlords in certain parts of the country could not make home building work under the Affordable Rent model.

Those who have made a success of it such as the JV North consortium have done so because geographically it is favourable and there has been an overwhelming appetite to deliver.

In JV North’s experience, the HCA has done an excellent job but too often they are unnecessarily restricted trying to apply a national programme policy to regional variances.

What works well in Kent is not always conducive in Merseyside.

As a result, it does not necessarily deliver best value for money.

The recent progress in Manchester where the HCA employs staff to administer investment across the North West using local knowledge, insight and informed judgement has delivered far greater results.

Aforementioned government changes, initiatives and concepts leaves the consortium (and others like it) well placed given their strengths.

The broad spectrum of housing providers have taken individual business decisions over the years to suit their needs, many of which revolve around differing levels of exposure in areas such as sale and private rent.

Members have always been prepared to share skills and experiences and highlight areas of learning – something we know the sector will need to do more than ever before after November.