ALMOs increased housing targets by 70% in 2019, survey finds

Stock housing (Demo)

Council-owned housing companies increased their new-build housing targets by over 70% in 2019, a new survey has revealed.

The survey by the National Federation of ALMOs (NFA), which represents all of England’s arms-length management organisations, found that council-owned companies are planning to build 12,352 homes over the next five years, up from 7,265 in December 2018.

The trade body has attributed the rise in targets over the last 12 months to the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) borrowing cap in autumn 2018, along with a ‘more stable policymaking environment’.

Eamon McGoldrick, managing director of the National Federation of ALMOs, said: “While it’s impossible to say whether they will now be able to fulfil those targets, the figures show that these council-owned companies already have the experience and the ambition to dramatically scale up building of affordable rented housing, if they get the right support.

“Our members believe this is exactly what the country will need to meet the explosion in housing need they are expecting when the coronavirus crisis is over.”

The NFA’s latest annual survey had asked England’s 30 council-owned housing management organisations how many homes they plan to build over the next five years.

Although it found ALMOs’ housing targets have increased over the past 12 months, the survey also warned that the erosion of housing stock through Right to Buy sales has continued.

ALMOs built or acquired 1,961 homes last year, while 2,348 homes were sold, the survey revealed.

The NFA added that tackling housing need will be the ‘most important pillar’ of the national response to the COVID-19 crisis, as the crisis’ economic impact will put buying or shared purchase beyond many people’s reach.

McGoldrick concluded: “When local authorities build, much of that money remains in the local economy through job creation, support of local suppliers and wages spent in the community.

“Bruised private sector construction companies will be reluctant to build – and ALMOs are ready to be a key part of the solution.”

Related Posts