Thursday, 14 January 2016 12:04

Right-to-buy 'could worsen housing crisis'

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Right-to-buy 'could worsen housing crisis'

The lack of affordable rural homes could be exacerbated by government policies, rural business leaders have warned.

There is a 76% shortfall in rural affordable housing in some areas, according to a recent Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors report.

Average house prices in some countryside communities 11 times greater than average annual wages, warns the RICS policy paper.

The document calls on rural estate owners to work with local authorities to create more affordable new homes in the countryside.

But landowners bringing land forward at considerable undervalue are likely to be put off doing so by the new Housing and Planning Bill, according the Country Land and Business Association.

CLA eastern region director Ben Underwood said: "The lack of homes in the countryside is extremely worrying for rural communities and the rural economy.

"The situation in some areas is already critical."

Many rural landowners had made a considerable investment in their community by offering land to housing associations at below market values for the development of affordable properties.

But policies proposed in the new Housing and Planning Bill could see this supply dry up.

Mr Underwood said: "Extending Right to Buy to housing association tenants in rural areas will reduce the already small number of affordable properties that are already available."

Doing so would also result in landowners being reluctant to continue making this offer, if those homes are then going to be sold off on the open market and no longer available for rent.

"Similarly, the inclusion of starter homes on Rural Exception Sites will act as a significant disincentive for landowners."

Although starter homes were classed as affordable housing, they could be sold after five years at full market rate – so it was questionable why a landowner would release land at a lower price.

Mr Underwood said that in order for the scheme to not hit housing provision in the countryside, there should be an exemption for rural communities.

"Settlements of 10,000 or less should have the opportunity to be exempt from the Right to Buy, while those with a population of less than 3,000 should have an automatic exemption," he said.

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  • Guest (pam stuffins)

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    If land owners are to offer land up at below market value for starter homes the government should fund on behalf of the land owner a charge over the properties on the land he sold that if a property is sold at full market value the land owner would receive a further payment from the sale of the house towards the land cost

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