What is Needed to Create More Development Land for Social Housing?

If solving the chronic shortage of homes for social rent could be addressed by simply releasing more development land, we’d already have taken a significant bite out of the problem. In recent years, the Government has sold off enough land to build 131,000 homes – but the percentage of those homes available for social rent will be just 2.6%.

Added to that, according to the New Economics Foundation, the 15% of homes built on formerly public land that are classified as ‘affordable’ are still beyond the reach of people on social housing waiting lists. 80% of the market rate in some areas can still be an unimaginable amount for hard-pressed families to find.

The Viability Question

Whatever the tenure, any new housing scheme has to be financially viable. And perhaps viability and risk are bigger issues than the availability of development land when it comes to expanding the supply of social housing. The risks traditionally associated with construction projects make it easier to justify the developments that will attract greater margins and yields.

Social housing schemes have to be financially viable and as risk-free as possible. To achieve this, costs and timings have to be dependable. The product has to be made simpler but without compromising on the quality.

Schemes also have to achieve the best possible utilisation of land and be easier to manage, from planning and design through to handover and maintenance.

A Simplified Model for New Social Housing

Osborne, with offsite specialists Innovaré Systems, has developed a simplified model for new social housing – Systemised Housing. The aim is to provide greater certainty over the outcomes to counteract the understandable risk-aversion.

The systemised product and process overcome the speed and quality barriers faced by local authorities and housing associations. By addressing the issues of land use and viability, Systemised Housing will provide the vital reassurance that should allow more social housing developments to move forward.

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