Is zero affordable housing the answer?

Affordable housing has become such a hot topic recently yet one council seems to have taken a novel approach – have none at all in major new developments in its city centre.

Out of 15,000 homes planned in Manchester none qualify as ‘affordable’, according to a recent article in the Guardian.

It says that of 61 big residential developments given planning consent in 2016 and 2017, nine met the Government definition of affordable for social rent or at 80 per cent of the market rate.  Some 65 of the total 14,667 planned are due to be shared ownership.

Why? There are various reasons, according to the Guardian, including issuing surrounding viability where developers argue that they would not be able to build homes of the required quality if they were sold at ‘affordable’ rates. Often developers will instead make contributions for affordable housing elsewhere.

The city council says that some 41% of all homes sold in Manchester in 2016/2017 were affordable – that mortgage payments were affordable to households with an average income of £27,000.

Housing and particularly affordable housing can be a complex issue with a variety of innovative approaches needed.  What do you think the answer is?

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