Manchester City Council

The Council & democracy News - January issue

Helping you onto the housing ladder

This week the Council has announced plans for 135 new affordable homes to help Manchester people to get the home they want.

Two major projects will see the homes built across several sites in north Manchester and will provide a route onto the property ladder through shared ownership opportunities, or affordable rental homes that will be managed by the Council's housing partner, Northwards Housing.

The Council has secured £2.85million from the Homes and Communities Agency's (HCA) Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme (2016-2021) - along with £8.433million borrowing from the Council - to help build 25 shared-ownership and 50 affordable rental products, and investigations are currently under way at a number of sites across north Manchester for more affordable homes.

In addition, 20 new homes will be bought on the Booth Hall development in north Manchester. The homes will be funded by a £345,000 grant from the HCA and £2.108million investment by the Council to acquire the properties, currently being developed by Taylor Wimpey, to offer for shared ownership to give people with lower income a chance to get a foot on the housing ladder. The Council will initially try to find people living in social rented houses who can afford the shared ownership - this will in turn free up more social rented homes. People with the right levels of income who are currently on the housing register will also be sought.

A new grant application via the Continuous Market Engagement of the HCA's Affordable Homes Programme has also approved £1.4million to help build 40 homes for affordable rent across six sites in Cheetham, Moston and Harpurhey.

Manchester's population has increased by more than 80,000 between 2001 and 2011 - a rise of nearly 20 per cent, and the highest of any town or city in the UK.

It is important that the city can continue to help home building to support the large demand for quality housing that is affordable to Manchester people.

To ensure demand is met, Manchester's affordability policy has set an ambitious target of between 1,000 and 2,000 affordable homes being available each year and commits to replacing social rented homes lost to Right to Buy and sales.

It is important that Manchester people can afford to live in new housing in the city, which is why Manchester came up with a city-specific affordability definition.

To be affordable, the annual cost of a home must be no more than 30 per cent of the average gross household income (including benefits) - which in Manchester is £27,000. For context, two people working on the national minimum wage would earn £30,000 per year.

Councillor Bernard Priest, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council, said: "These properties fill a definite requirement for high-quality, affordable homes in the city. We know demand is far outstripping supply, so it is important that we can use as many funding opportunities as possible to help deliver the homes people need at a price they can afford.

"I'm particularly pleased that through these schemes we will be able to provide genuine routes onto the housing ladder, which is sadly missing for many people living in the city.

 "We will be getting on site quickly for each of these schemes to get the homes to market and start providing much-needed homes to Manchester people as quickly as possible."

Sue Abbott, chair of the board at Northwards Housing, said: "We're delighted to work in partnership with the Council to deliver these much-needed new homes in north Manchester. We look forwards to managing them on behalf of the Council."

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