Housing Issues and Options

13 Issue: The delivery of Intermediate Housing units

Issues

 13.1         The current housing planning policy states that 15% of the affordable housing developed should be intermediate housing – an 85:15 split of social rented to intermediate. This is mainly fulfilled through the development of shared ownership properties.

 13.2         Shared ownership means that part of the property is bought (on a leasehold basis) and the other part rented from the landlord. The amount of rent is usually capped to ensure the property is affordable.

 13.3         The Mayor of London sets limits on the income of those buying shared ownership units. For 1 and 2 bedroom properties, the gross household income can be no more than £64,300 per annum and for 3 bedroom properties or larger, the maximum gross household income is £77,200 per annum.

 13.4         Given the high land values in the Borough, the development of shared ownership units can result in expensive developments which are not affordable to those eligible for shared ownership in London. In reality the only units that may be affordable, in any sense of the word, are the smaller one or two bedroom units. Larger family sized units are not a realistic option and would exceed the £77,200 income quoted above. On this basis Intermediate Housing currently only forms a very small proportion of the affordable housing mix in the Borough.      

Options

Option 1: Continue to provide intermediate units, mainly as 1 – 2 bedroom units to ensure they are affordable to those eligible at the current 15% level.

 Pros

    • The resultant units are more likely to be affordable and therefore consistent with the Mayor’s income limits.
    • 1 and 2 bedroom units, within the intermediate tenure, are those in greatest need[9] and would continue to be provided.
    • Requiring 1 and 2 bedroom intermediate unit allows their delivery in line with existing policy, at the ‘usefully affordable’ point.

Cons

    • It effectively means that no larger family sized properties are developed for the intermediate market within the Borough.

Option 2: In view of the rents that can be charged, reduce the percentage of intermediate housing as a portion of the total affordable housing to be developed to, say, 10% or lower.

 Pros

    • The updated Strategic Housing Market Assessment suggests that intermediate housing has a relatively small role to play in meeting Borough housing needs.
    • A decrease in intermediate housing would be off-set through a proportionate increase in other affordable tenures (such as Affordable Rent, Social Rent).

 Cons

    • It would mean fewer intermediate units being developed, especially smaller one and two bedroom units.

[9] Chapter 35.3.10 of the Core Strategy sets out the known need within intermediate affordable tenure, which is predominantly 1 and 2 beds.