Throughout England ‘second home’ ownership is at an all-time high. As well as blocking first-time buyers by buying up properties in local areas , these homes often stand empty for long periods, which can have an adverse effect on community cohesion and distort local housing markets.
Almost 150 councils across England affected by high levels of second home ownership will be boosted by a new, annual £60 million fund.
The purpose of the Community Housing fund is to counteract the negative affect second home ownership has on the availability of homes in these areas by helping local organisations to deliver affordable housing to first time buyers.
The most popular region is the South West where 21 per cent of ‘second homes’ are located. As a result Local Authorities in this area will benefit from almost £20 million – a third of the total fund.
After the South West, the highest allocation to an individual region is £11,336,157 to the South East, followed by £8,950,048 to the East of England. The regions being allocated the least are the North East with £1,314,600 and the West Midlands with £1,910,498.
Housing Minister Gavin Barwell said of the fund:
“This new fund will help tackle that by boosting supply and make sure community groups are at the heart of delivering new homes so that this is a country that works for everyone.”
Allocating the funding to the housing organisations that know the needs of their areas the best will allow them to decide what type of housing is most needed. It will also offer an income stream to community organisations, in turn allowing them to reinvest in more housing or in other activities or services which will benefit their area.
Director of the National Community Land Trust Network, Catherine Harrington:
“We are delighted that the government is backing community-led housing with this new fund. Every few days a new community-led housing provider forms to take housing into their own hands, providing homes that are affordable to local people. This fund could triple the 3,000 homes that Community Land Trusts alone already have in the pipeline.
We are now looking forward to working with local authorities to help them use the funding in the way it is needed most and develop a strong community-led housing sector in their area.”
During the first year, it is proposed that the fund be used to increase and improve capacity within local groups to improve technical skills and set up support hubs that can provide business planning, advice, and staff who will analyse and review local housing needs.
From year 2 onwards, the fund must be used to deliver affordable housing to meet the needs of local people. It will be the responsibility of Community-led housing groups, along with other relevant stakeholders, and Local authorities to work closely together to ensure the efficient delivery of new, affordable houses over subsequent years.