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Government opens applications for £7bn affordable homes fund

Housing providers can now apply for a share of a £7bn fund to increase the number of affordable homes available for residents, the communities secretary Sajid Javid has announced.

The fund means housing associations, local authorities and private developers in England will be able to bid for funding to build shared ownership, rent-to-buy and rented homes.

The £7bn announced by the DCLG is compiled from previous announcements such as £4.7bn worth of grants, £1.4bn announced in last year’s Autumn Statement and around £1bn saved from a previous affordable homes programme.

Javid, said: “Our newly expanded affordable housing programme, turbo-charged by a multibillion-pound investment, will allow housing associations to build more homes in places where they are most needed, particularly for families who are just about managing.

“By encouraging the delivery of more homes under a variety of tenures, we can create a housing market which truly works for everyone, meeting the diverse housing needs of this country.”

It is hoped that the £7bn will enable at least 200,000 affordable homes to be delivered by 2020-21, with the £4.7bn of grants expected to deliver at least 135,000 shared ownership homes, 10,000 rent-to-buy properties, and 8,000 homes for supported living.

Rent-to-buy properties will be set at or below 80% of the local market rent for a set period so that tenants have the opportunity to save for a deposit and then buy the property.

Sir Ed Lister, chairman of the Homes and Communities Agency, said: “The expanded affordable housing programme will help us continue to work with both housing associations and developers new to this area of the housing market to increase the availability of affordable homes.

“The expanded programme will also allow providers the flexibility and agility to respond to local needs and markets. This will boost house building by encouraging providers to deliver a mix of homes for both affordable rent and low-cost ownership that is most suited to each place.”

The government added that more of its proposals for housing reform and affordable homes will be published in the housing white paper coming out later this month.

(Image c. Peter Byrne - PA Wire)

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