A report to the Council’s Resources and Governance Scrutiny Committee on 1 March 2018 has updated councillors on the extensive work going on to deliver thousands of affordable homes in Manchester.
Manchester’s Affordable Housing Programme will ensure more than 2,200 homes by March 2021 through a £250m programme funded through a variety of sources including Homes England grant funding, Council borrowing and land or property sales and Registered Providers. The Council is also backing the programme through the release of suitable council-owned land.
Some 548 homes are already being constructed with a further 1,711 in the pipeline. These are a mix of affordable rent, shared ownership, affordable rent to buy and social rent.
The creation of a Housing Affordability Fund, bringing together developer affordable housing contributions and other funding streams in a single pot, was approved by the Council in October 2017 to help subsidise the creation of homes that are affordable to rent or buy across the city. There is already £1.2m in the pot, with significant further receipt expected in the coming months from section 106 agreements with developers and land sales.
As part of this drive, four Housing Affordability Zones have been approved where the Council owns a significant amount of land which can be used to help accelerate affordable housing being brought forward. In each of the zones the Council will be working with a registered social housing provider to help bring schemes forward.
It is expected that these zones – in central North Manchester, Clayton, Beswick and Wythenshawe Town Centre - will boost building with an additional 2,000 affordable homes over the next five years on top of those already in the pipeline and planned elsewhere in the City.
In addition, up to 500 existing homes across the city will be purchased, refurbished and made available for low cost rent or ownership through the Housing Affordability Fund and support from housing provider partners. These will be mostly, but not exclusively, within the four Housing Affordability Zones.
The Council is also working with partners to develop new financial products which enable people on lower incomes to access new and existing homes, an example of which will be reported to the Council's Executive next week for approval.
Councillor Bernard Priest, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “We know that affordable housing is a real concern for Mancunians and a subject of considerable debate and some speculation. We want to reassure people that affordable housing is a very high priority for us at the Council and something we are actually doing rather than just talking about it. Last week we broke ground on 40 new council homes in the city and we have many more in the pipeline.
“We are overseeing the delivery of thousands of new decent affordable homes and will continue to make the best use of our resources to maximise this, as well as continuing to maximise section 106 planning contributions which help pay for lots of public infrastructure works as well as affordable housing.
“Manchester is a sought-after place to live and for the city to continue to thrive it’s essential that we meet the demand for all types of housing.”
Manchester City Council is believed to be the first local authority to develop a definition of affordable housing rooted in local circumstances. This states that to be classed as affordable a property must cost no more, in rent or mortgage, than 30 per cent of the average gross household income. For instance, for a household earning the city's average household income of £27,000 equates to up to £675 per month for renting and up to £121,500 (excluding deposit) to buy a home. The Greater London Authority and others are now seeking to adopt similar methodologies.
The rent for the new build council homes in North Manchester will be £440 per month.