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Affordable Housing Policies in London

Introduction

London has a different housing market than the rest of the country. These include property demands, tenure and household composition, affordability or affordability for sales, as well as the rate of the urgent need for affordable housing. Similar disparities separate London from the rest of England and add to London’s accessible housing problems. But London is booming, the economy is growing, and therefore more pressure is increasing on infrastructural growth, exceptionally affordable housing. The population of London has grown enormously, as expected to hit 9 million by 2031 (Bromley, 2013). The housing challenge, which is on the rise, is becoming a social and economic challenge for this city. What was previously on sale more inexpensive. There is a need for more excellent housing supply and not just housing but affordable housing. The housing challenge leaves London as a town facing the epic challenge of affordable housing. Historically the number of homes being built has been too low. The inexorable cycle paths flowing from the economy also caused the housing problem (Grigsby, & Rosenburg, 2012). London has undergone many policy reforms to tackle this housing crisis, aimed at offering a durable solution. So this paper explains some of the current changes that have occurred in London’s affordable housing policy and the possible solutions that can lead to affordable housing within this great city.

Current Changes in Affordable Housing Policy in London 800

Affordable housing policy has overtime was the Londoners’ dream of finding a sustainable solution to the housing challenges that affect this great city. As of 2014, the London housing strategy recognized that there is a need to bring together adequate resources to enable London se the development of 42,000 houses per year. This is aimed at effectively doubling the London housing stock. The strategy acknowledges the need for collaboration among governments, the private sector, major ad boroughs. A policy structure is required to encourage the development of the surplus public property and foster institutional investment in seeing London provide the requisite housing.

Affordable Housing Policies in London

The London housing strategy under section 3.2 provides for policy changes aimed at creating a competitive market and promoting intermediate housing development. Over time, the policies in London have changed tremendously, and in 2014, a system to see increased housing deliveries involved the following (GLA, 2014):

Policy 1: The London City Mayor is expected to work with other partners to deliver London’s planned target of 42,000 houses per year. The program calls for 25,000 luxury homes, 17,000 affordable homes that can be rented or bought by individuals, and 5,000 luxury homes are constructed for the purpose. These will include long-term private rent, especially for those schemes that have more than one step.

Policy 2: Investment period 2015-2018 will allow the Mayor to deliver 15,000 affordable homes each year. This will comprise 40% for the low-cost dwellings and the other 60% for the affordable, caped, and discounted rents. The discounted affordable rental housing will be given priority for low-income working households.

Policy 3: Targets to double the delivery of the number of first-step homes in the capital by 2020. Additionally, it will be increased again by 2025. This will see 250,000 Londoners get affordable houses. 

Policy 4: Targets the delivery of homes to the Londoners tackling overcrowding as a challenge. This seeks to support mobility so that under-occupying can then downsize to free up other space/ properties for the overcrowded ones. Additionally, it aims to make available funding for sustainably larger homes. This refers to those with needs for four bedrooms and above. They are strategically planned for the 2015-2018 housing program.

Further, this policy seeks to proceed with to commit to a long term aim that will see the provision of larger family homes. These will be done in line with the strategic housing market assessment. All these four policies are identified and discussed in the London housing strategic plan and shall be monitored by the GLA.

Besides, there are also policies seeking to improve existing estates and homes. By 2030, the system aims to ensure that the Mayor retrofits all the poorly insulated homes in London. All the London affordable housings shall undergo environmental retrofitting by 2020. The policy also intends to resolve the London borough’s home backlogs. This shall be met by 2016. The system also changes the period that houses in London should remain empty. This seeks to ensure that no space is wasted, and as such, it states that no more than 1 % of the housing in London should remain empty (Homes & Communities Agency, 2015). 

According to Harrison, Wilson & Johnson (2013), the policies have also changed to support working Londoners. The changes seek to establish a more structured intermediate market for housing facilities. A fund shall be provided by the Mayor that will enable the delivery of a flexible homeownership program. This program will allow the household to choose first steps home and agree to the appropriate financial package. The Mayor shall also finance the housing associations who wish to offer their tenants the right o part buy the houses through GLA. Moe participation, as well as competition, will be encouraged by the Mayor in the mortgage market.

The policy changes are numerous, ranging from those that facilitate mobility to those that encourage rental housing. The policy changes provide for housing opportunity priority for the working Londoners to ease their burden. The rent increases are limited, and the charges levied by the homeowners are monitored to ensure they are proportionate, transparent, and justified. 

So that the housing needs are met, the policy changes have made it possible for the Mayor to lobby the government for changes in the finance arrangements for housing within the capital. The borrowing rules for housing purposes have been relaxed, and stamp duty land tax has been made more equitable and efficient (GLA, 2010). 

Possible Solutions 

To address the London housing challenges, there is a need for sustainable programs and policy implementation that will the targets met. The housing policy reforms that the coalition government needs to be adequately implemented and monitored closely by the GLA to ensure the maximum outcome. The delivery models adopted should be sustainable and appropriately underpinned by the precise definitions of affordability and housing needs (Bramley, 2013). 

The following are some of the specific solutions that can be adapted to address the housing challenges in London city (London First, 2014): 

First, there should be an increment in the housing budget for the town. This will enable the availability of funds that can then be allocated for the housing programs. In recent times there has been a reduction in the national housing budget. This translates to the low housing budget in the capital. Consequently, more funding is needed for the programs to enable the delivery of affordable housing that can meet Londoners’ needs. It is evident that over the past, boroughs have been failing to meet their targets for affordable housing. All attributed to financial inadequacies. Thus improving budgetary allocation for housing will come a long way in enabling the implementation of affordable housing policies and, therefore, the achievement of the housing goals.   

There is a need to adopt new technology in housing delivery. This implies that the government, private sector, and all those engaged in the production of housing facilities need to take relevant technology that lowers the production cost and makes it possible for maximum utilization of space. This will ensure that most households are meeting their housing needs at an affordable rate.

Removal of restrictions that stall homes that are available for commercial housing need to be effected. This is because; more and more people require these spaces, which brings a lot of pressure in the city. As such, the restrictions should be removed to ease the stress and have more people accommodated.

Temporary removal of restrictive planning regulations that hamper the growth of the housing sector, such as homeowner’s improvement, needs to be implemented. This will reduce the difficulties experienced by the homeowners in improving their houses to expand the space hence accommodating a more significant population. 

Zoning regulations should be revised to enable the integration of commercial and residential housing. This will allow increased residential dwellings within the city centres where business houses occupy most. The flats can accommodate both commercial and residential housing needs. 

Additionally, social housing tenancies, as well as welfare reforms, need to take place. The changes should be able to make social mobility easier and lifetime tenancies for group homes. This will also ease the rebalancing of the housing stock by the tenants. The flexible rentals should be reduced to one year and not two years as it is now. This will enable housing to be given to those that are really in need. 

Finally, the need to improve the local incentives to encourage attitudes of the locals to invest in homes. This can be done through loans, grants, provision of amenities, and even loan bonus. The incentives will make it easier for the locals to venture into housing as an investment bridge the housing gap in London.

Conclusion

London’s housing market is different from that of other parts of England. Those include land requirements, tenure, and household composition, affordability, or affordability for sales, as well as the rate of the urgent need for affordable housing. With London’s booming economy, enormous pressure is increasing on infrastructural growth, exceptionally affordable housing. The housing challenge, which is on the rise, is becoming a social and economic challenge for this city. The government has, however, made tremendous efforts to change policies over time with regard to housing development in the town. Among the plans are those that relate to financing, mobility, tenancy, housing opportunity priority for the working Londoners to ease their burden, removal of restrictions that stall homes that are available for commercial housing need to be affected, among other policies explained in this paper. The essay has further identified possible solutions to the housing problems facing London city among them, improvement of the local incentives to encourage attitudes of the locals to invest in homes; zoning regulations should be revised to enable the integration of commercial and residential housing; need to adopt new technology in housing delivery; there should be an increment in the housing budget for the city. 

References
  • Bramley, G. (2013). Housing market models and planning. Town Planning Review84(1), 9-35.
  • Bromley, R. (Ed.). (2013). The urban informal sector: critical perspectives on employment and housing policies. Elsevier.
  • Grigsby, W. G., & Rosenburg, L. S. (2012). Urban housing policy. Transaction Publishers.
  • Authority, G. L. (2010). AFFORDABLE HOUSING VIABILITY STUDY. CITY OF LONDON LOCAL DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORK, 1-20.
  • Authority, G. L. (2014). Homes for London. The London Housing Strategy, 1-74.
  • Ben Harrison, J. W. (2013). Changes to Affordable Housing in London and Implications for Delivery. Future of London, 1-32.
  • Homes & Communities Agency. (2015). 2010 to 2015 government policy: rented housing sector. Policy Paper, 17.
  • London First. (2014). Home Truths. 12 Steps to Solving London Housing Crisis, 5-30.

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