Boris gets set to build 50,000 new homes for private rent

Boris gets set to build 50,000 new homes for private rent

London mayor Boris Johnson has promised to double the current rate of annual house building in the capital, with plans to build 50,000 purpose-built homes for private rent over the next ten years.

Of the total of 420,000 homes planned, 220,000 would be for open market sales;  and 150,000 would be affordable, to rent or buy.

The target of 42,000 new homes to be built each year compares with the 20,300 built in London last year.

The Greater London Authority’s draft housing strategy outlines just how important the private rented sector is in its plans.

The document says that 25% of households now live in the private rented sector in London – more than in the social rented sector. By the mid 2020s, little more than ten years away, it expects owner occupation and private rented to converge at just under 40%.

The document also expresses concerns about high deposit requirements in the private rented sector, and calls for employers to make loans to their staff.

The Greater London Authority is now consulting on its plans, which it intends to pay for with a mixture of funding, institutional investment in private rented homes, and use of public land.

There are also plans for a London Housing Bank with £160m of funding available to help developers complete schemes more quickly.

Johnson’s deputy mayor for housing, Rick Blakeway, said the GLA would ask for bids from developers prepared to rent out later phases of large schemes for a minimum of ten years before there could be any sale.

In addition, Blakeway said the GLA intended to market three large sites, offering a total of 3,000 homes, on the basis that a significant number would be for private rent.

Johnson said: “In the last 30 years we’ve built almost half of the homes we need, which has turned our housing problem into a crisis.

“There are many young people with decent jobs, including some working at City Hall, without a hope of getting on to the housing ladder.

“Our goal is to rediscover the energy and drive that built so many homes in the 1930s.”

The new draft housing strategy, Homes for London, will not try to limit sales of new units to rich overseas investors, or stop developers from marketing their properties abroad. The document also rejects the idea of rent controls, but wants private landlords to offer longer tenancies with greater certainty over rents.

The strategy outlines a total of 50 policies, including 33 ‘opportunity areas’ offering housing potential, plus a wave of proposed new ‘garden suburbs’, the first of which will be at the Barking Riverside site, where 10,800 homes are planned along with five schools.

It also emphasises quality, saying that the design and condition of homes are as important as the numbers delivered. In particular, the consultation paper criticises poor-quality private rented accommodation, with 30% below the Decent Homes benchmark.

The consultation runs until February 17.