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Much of the recent debate about the Government’s proposal to extend the Right to Buy to Housing Association tenants has revolved around the potentially adverse impact on Housing Associations’ ability to raise private finance, a very serious issue given that they are now almost totally dependent on private finance as opposed to public grants.

Extending right to buy to the Housing Association sector - an unforeseen consequence? - by Michael Hill

Parkside Place, Wembley - the regeneration of the Barham Park estate is a partnership with Notting Hill Housing and the London Borough of Brent. Image © Clare Banks

However, there has been remarkably little comment about the adverse impact Right to Buy will have on Housing Associations’ ability to redevelop their existing housing estates. This is surprising, given the serious impact that Right to Buy has had on many local authority estates. It is also concerning because of two factors.

Firstly, the housing shortage in London and the South East is so acute that we need to look increasingly at the redevelopment of existing low density housing schemes with much higher density homes. Secondly, I know that many housing associations are already looking at this as part of prudent asset management and certainly, based on our experience of delivering very low density affordable housing schemes for Housing Associations across London and the South East during the 1980s and 1990s, there is potential to make a really significant contribution to London’s housing supply. We have looked at a typical scheme where we believe the total number of homes could easily be quadrupled, and the number of affordable rent homes doubled, without any grant requirement.

It is for others to comment on the political aspects of right to buy. For our part, with our mission to work with our public sector partners to increase the supply of new, affordable homes in London, the South East and North West, it seems to us essential that the potentially serious and adverse impact of this proposal on the ability to increase housing supply needs to be urgently taken into account alongside the other, better understood concerns.

Above all else we need a comprehensive long-term housing policy, not something short-term. Surely the most advantageous way to bring forward further home ownership is through more housing stock, which will benefit many people rather than the few. It is also important that those who need to rent have access to that market.

Some description

Michael Hill,
New Business Director,


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About this blog

Here you’ll find property related blog articles from the team at Countryside as well as independent experts. Expect regular tips and advice on topics such as buying a new home, interior and landscape design, setting up home, mortgages and finance, plus articles on architecture, the property market, regeneration and more.

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