Mayor launches £100m housing fund

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has launched a £100m housing fund which aims to improve the intermediate homes offer in the capital.

The money is targeted, says the Mayor, at helping Londoners on a range of modest incomes for whom the current housing market offers limited choice. He set out the first part of his ‘Housing Covenant’, which aims to ensure those who contribute to the success of the capital can expect a reasonable housing offer in return.

Bids are being invited for organisations to deliver proposals for a range of housing projects across London – including helping people to own a share in a new home. The aim is to make the ‘intermediate’ market, which offers a range of low-cost home ownership products, give people the same freedoms and flexibility as those buying on the open market enjoy.

Using his new powers, which include responsibility for budgets and public land, the Mayor of London says his plans will remove red tape, including planning restrictions, to provide greater choice and flexibility and boost the mid-market offer in the capital; enable people to find the home they want and then choose from a flexible range of options including shared-ownership, equity loans and a new option – ‘Rent to Save’ – which will help households save for a deposit while benefitting from low rents; make it easier to move the equity built up in one ‘intermediate’ home into another, removing constraints on re-sales of these properties;

The Mayor says the £100m investment he is making through his successful ‘First Steps’ programme has the potential to boost the London economy by £2 billion, spurred by around £1 billion worth of construction.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “London’s success is built by its workforce and if we are to maintain our vitality as a city we have to provide Londoners with a fairer housing deal. For an increasing number of Londoners the capital’s current housing market is just not working and failure to deal with the issue could lead to a damaging exodus that will hamper our competitiveness.

“So, in the long tradition of the great house building programmes of the past and of London’s great philanthropists such as George Peabody, I want to make a new housing covenant with Londoners, one that recognises that those who contribute to our success should benefit from it too.

“To improve the housing choices of those who work to make this city the fantastic place that it is, I am opening up the market, cutting red-tape and injecting £100m worth of investment to stimulate supply. The programme we are announcing will not just unlock the door to home ownership for thousands more Londoners, it will give a welcome shot in the arm for jobs in the capital’s construction industry and spur wider economic growth too.”

The Mayor says that all reusable investment from this funding boost will be reinvested for further affordable homes delivery over the next decade.

The Mayor is seeking proposals from any providers that can develop intermediate housing in London. In particular, organisations not currently working with the GLA or who have not received GLA funding in the past are encouraged to bid. Organisations could include London Boroughs, housing associations, developers and house-builders, for profit and not-for-profit bodies such as charities.

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