Posted by: westlancashirerecord | March 8, 2017

Who Can Afford Affordable Housing?

Letters to the Champion this week relate to madness over a person being “woeful about losing the view out of their rear window” to “infrastructure and flood risk to the Alt…does Mr Lennon think it rains more over new houses than on old carrot fields”. Read the letters here  and here  [click to read]. It’s worth pointing out though that rain does soak into land growing crops and trees but not into houses, concrete, and asphalt where it becomes surface and sometimes flood water.  As can also be read in both letters the availability and affordability of housing and homes is of major concern.

According to the UK government’s definition of affordable housing, it’s social rented, affordable rented and intermediate housing, provided to eligible households whose needs are not met by the market. Eligibility is determined by local incomes and local house prices. Affordable housing should include provisions to remain at an affordable price for future eligible households or for the subsidy to be recycled for alternative affordable housing provision.

Affordable rented housing is let by local authorities or private registered providers of social housing to households that are eligible for social rented housing. Affordable rent is no more than 80 per cent of the local market rent (including service charges, where applicable).

Homes that do not meet this definition of affordable housing, such as ‘low cost market’ housing, are not considered affordable housing for planning purposes. Social rented housing is owned by local authorities and private registered providers, for which guideline target rents are determined through the national rent regime. It may also be owned by other persons and provided under equivalent rental arrangements agreed with the local authority or the Homes and Communities Agency.

Intermediate housing refers to homes for sale and rent, provided at a cost above social rent but below market levels subject to the affordable housing definition. These can include shared equity (shared ownership and equity loans), other low cost homes for sale and intermediate rent, but not affordable rented housing.

But let’s see what a three bedroom house in Aughton will cost today. They range from semi-detached £172,000 to £450,000. Two bedroom semi-detached houses range from £170,000 to £345,000. Are these affordable according to the criteria above? With the Help to Buy Equity Loan the Government will lend you up to 20% of the value of your new build Redrow home up to the value of £600,000 through an interest free equity loan for five years. This means you’ll only need to secure a 75% mortgage with a 5% deposit. There is no current price range for Redrow in Aughton but in Banks their last “4 bedroom Cambridge” is £296,995 but available for £237,596 with Help to Buy. Full purchase price – £296,995; Customer 5% deposit – £14,849; 20% Government loan – £59,399; Help to Buy price – £237,596.

What’s the betting the price of land in Aughton will dictate a higher price than that? Otherwise why doesn’t Redrow start building straight away in Skelmersdale which is desperate for growth with the infrastructure already in place?

As for the Aughton Residents’ Group 2012 being unrepresentative, it has existed for almost 5 years now but still remains “a” voice and not “the” voice of Aughton as an alternative to the proposals of housing developers and has never claimed to be anything else. They may, for all I know, believe that huge new housing estates between Long Lane, Parrs Lane, and Prescot Road will help to bolster the dying Ormskirk town centre, but might these new affluent residents eventually bolster the huge “out of Ormskirk” stores now flourishing where they want to be, mainly in Burscough instead?

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