Social rented housing stock to reduce by 120,000, CIH predicts

18 Jan 17

More than 120,000 socially rented homes will be lost in the next four years, according to a forecast published today by the Chartered Institute for Housing.

The CIH’s projection follows the release of figures from the government last week, showing that over 120,000 homes available at social rent have already been lost between 2012 and 2016.

If the forecast is accurate, it would mean a loss of almost 250,000 socially rented homes – 6% of social housing stock – between 2012 and 2020.

According to the CIH projections, 72,000 of the social rent losses between 2017 and 2020 will be from local authority housing, and a further 50,000 will be from housing associations.

The organisation expects the housing to be lost through demolitions, the sale of high-value homes, sales through the Right to Buy scheme, and conversions of properties from social rent to more expensive “affordable” rent. The projected number of new social rent builds from 2017 to 2020 is 14,000 in total.

In a statement, the CIH said: “The continuing decline is projected on the basis that the government has dedicated the bulk of funding to affordable rents offered at higher rates or shared ownership and that a similar level of conversions to higher rents and right to buy sales will continue.”

Terrie Alafat, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing, added: “The loss of so many of these types of homes is extremely worrying at a time we need more not less.

 “It is positive that the government has announced new investment in housing in recent months but many of the homes which will be funded will still be out of reach to many people.  

“What we’ve seen over the last four years is a very significant decline in the number of homes at social rent; the only type of accommodation which is accessible to a significant proportion of the population.

“If the government really wants to solve our housing crisis it must recognise that building more homes at genuinely affordable rents will be crucial to help those who need housing the most.”

She said the government needed to consider how it can prevent this decline in the size of the social rented sector. “We should be seeing an increase in numbers.”

Earlier this month, the government pledged to “turbo charge” the construction of affordable housing backed with a £7bn funding pot. However, the focus is on shared ownership, Rent to Buy and affordable rent.

A Department for Communities and Local Government spokesman said: “The reality is, more council homes have been built since 2010 than in the previous 13 years.

“This government has set out the most ambitious plan for affordable housing for 40 years, with investment of more than £9bn over the course of this parliament.

“We’re also relaxing restrictions on grant funding so housing associations and others can deliver a mix of homes for affordable rent and low cost ownership.”

Adam Morton, policy leader at the National Housing Federation, told PF: “Whilst converting homes from social rent to affordable rent is one way for housing associations to boost their development capacity, they remain committed to increasing the supply of a range of new affordable homes, including social rent, to effectively meet need.”

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