Over 150,000 homes for social rent lost in five years

New analysis from the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) has shown that more than 150,000 of the most affordable rented homes have been lost across England in just five years.

Arguing that ministers must focus on affordability, rather than just building more homes, the CIH is predicting that the loss of affordable homes will reach 230,000 by 2020, exasperating the country’s already broken housing market.

Funding for social rent, which tends to be around 30-40 per cent cheaper than market rent, was cut by the coalition government in 2010. In its place, funding has been targeted towards homes for ‘affordable rent’, which can be up to 80 per cent of market rents.

The institute says that the government could also make some simple changes to the right to buy scheme to help councils build more homes to replace those sold

Terrie Alafat, chief executive of the CIH, said: “For many people on lower incomes, the only truly affordable option is social rent. It is simply unacceptable that we are losing so many of our most affordable homes at a time when more and more people are in need.

“We need to increase the number of homes we are building but it’s not just a numbers game – we need to make sure we are building the right homes, in the right places, and that people can afford them. The Prime Minister is absolutely right to make housing a priority, and some of the things the government is doing will help.

“But government investment is still heavily skewed towards the private market. Our analysis shows that 79 per cent of the housing budget up to 2020/21 is directed towards private housing, with just 21 per cent going to affordable housing. Rebalancing this budget, so that more money is spent on affordable homes, could make a big difference.”

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