A report going to the Council’s Executive next week (Weds, 12 Dec) will review housing affordability in the city to make sure more Manchester people have access to decent homes.
The report will present a range of policy ideas that will help increase the supply of genuinely affordable homes across a range of tenures and products to meet the different needs of residents.
The report reacts to challenges faced by Manchester’s housing market as the city’s population grows rapidly, and sustained austerity - along with welfare changes including Universal Credit - continues to put pressure on the city’s most vulnerable residents, with 5,000 people in need on the housing register and a marked increase in homelessness.
Updating an ambitious commitment in 2015, the Council predicts 32,000 new homes will be built in the city from April 2015 to March 2026, including 6,400 affordable homes to meet the city’s 20% affordable homes ambition.
Since April 2015, 3,000 affordable homes have either already been delivered or are in the pipeline, with the full quota to be delivered by March 2021, and a further 3,400 affordable homes will be built by March 2025 – at least 1,000 of which will be social rent.
The policy paper going to the Council’s scrutiny committee and executive will advise that 3,000 new Council-built homes should be built in the next ten years, split equally between social rent, affordable rent and shared ownership to give residents options to access high-quality housing regardless of their income.
This will help absorb home losses to Right to Buy and amount to 1,500 net new additional Council homes in the city. Furthermore, the Council will also explore how Council homes can be built outside of the Right to Buy legislation in the city’s four affordability zones.
The paper also commits to a feasibility study into an affordable housing project in the city centre to further explore housing options for people on lower incomes.
The Council will continue to build its strong relationship with Registered Housing Providers and private sector developers to drive home building that is right for Manchester and its residents.
500 plots on small sites will be released to Registered Providers by March 2019 where at least a third of the homes built will be social rent and will be delivered in full by 2022.
The report also urges increase opportunities for older people to access appropriate accommodation, such as Extra Care, that meets their needs, which also helps to free up larger family homes and open them up to people in need on the housing register.
To unleash the potential of grassroots housing demand, the Council will explore the feasibility of three community-led housing projects for people to build their own homes. A forward-thinking project will also explore the feasibility of at least three projects on Council land, unleashing the potential of grassroots projects for people to build their own homes across all tenures by summer 2019.
Cllr Suzanne Richards, Manchester City Council’s executive member for housing and regeneration, said: “These new policies signal a bold new approach to deliver genuinely affordable homes that meet the needs of all Manchester people.
“Manchester is a hugely popular place to live and work but as the city’s success attracts more residents we must also meet the demand for more housing. As housing demand has increased and social housing has been lost through right to buy we have seen many residents on lower incomes unable to access the safe, secure housing that they need.
“The impact of years of austerity on the city's public services and punishing welfare forms that have squeezed family budgets mean we have to try to do more with less money to support those residents on the lowest incomes. This review of housing affordability is critical to understanding what we can do to improve access to decent, secure and affordable homes for Manchester people.
“From working with communities to help them build their own housing to a programme of more than 3,000 new council-built homes we are determined to solve our cities affordable housing crisis and ensure everyone in Manchester has access to a safe, secure and sustainable home.”