It’s very worrying that this government doesn’t seem to understand the value of encouraging Housing Associations and Councils to take up the slack of the housebuilding shortages. It beggars belief that they can be even talking about encouraging forcing “Right to Buy” on Housing Associations! Margaret Thatcher did some severe damage to the structure of Britain’s housing balance by ushering in “Right to Buy”. The housing was rarely replaced and the amount that fell into the ownership of private landlords still causes problems for lower income families today.
The idea that forcing “Right to Buy” on Housing Associations in the belief that it will release money for them to build new housing is surely stupidity (or at least naivety) in the extreme. It will reduce the rental income that their business model is built on, will surely make lenders nervous in the first instance and isn’t it likely to reduce the value of their property portfolio making it even harder to borrow against their stock holding?
Surely the government should be lending to HA’s be to build housing based on the value of their portfolio and their income. We need HA’s and councils building homes and they should be offered land at rates less than the private sector (in fact shouldn’t all government land go to HA’a and Councils?) because HA’s and Councils have obvious and real incentives to think about long term stewardship and value rather than the ROCE (Return on Capital Employed) that drives the large scale private sector house builders and more often than not results in tiny, identikit, not fit for purpose, ugly developments that continue to blight Britain.
– Wayne Hemingway