Richard Connolly, CEO of Rentplus comments on the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement:

Nov 23, 2016

We agree with the Chancellor’s comments about the effect of unaffordable housing on productivity and delivery of much needed housing and his acknowledgement that “for too many, the goal of home ownership remains out of reach.” His announcement of a range of new measures to address these issues is most welcome and marks a step-change in housing policy. The introduction of the new Housing Infrastructure Fund and the NPIF will undoubtedly be a significant and spur to accelerate the delivery of new affordable homes, unlocking innovation in the housing sector and delivering new affordable housing in high demand areas. In London, the increase in funding for the GLA to deliver 90,000 new affordable home starts by 2020 will be essential in ensuring it’s still possible for those on lower incomes to continue to live in the Capital. We hope that rent to buy homes will be included in this pipeline.

“We are delighted that the Government recognises the importance of creating mixed tenure developments providing more homes of every type and addressing the affordability gap. Rent to buy models, like Rentplus, are designed for working families who are just about managing, making a real difference to the quality of their lives now as well as their future aspirations. It’s good to see that the government has taken a wider view of affordability – the support the Chancellor has provided through the changes to Universal Credit should make it easier for families to stay in work and progress up the career ladder, afford child care costs and save for a deposit to buy their own home. The extension of the Help to Buy ISA is good to see as this will encourage the nation to get in the saving habit and enable Rentplus tenants to save to top up the deposit we give them when they buy their home.

“With average house prices more than 9 times median incomes in 39 per cent of local authorities, we need to do something different to enable those who can reach their goal of home ownership. While the additional 40,000 new affordable homes announced will help, they won’t be enough to counter this trend. We are looking forward to the government’s Housing White Paper and the details of how these new initiatives will be delivered; we also hope that Rent to Buy models will be recognised as a mainstream housing product both as a Starter Home and truly affordable housing alongside traditional options. This would enable local authorities to boost their supply of affordable homes to rent whilst providing a complementary housing solution for those who aspire to own their own home without an increase in Government spending.”

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