X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week. If you receive it, you’ll also find your subscriber number at the top of our weekly highlights email.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.spectator.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050. If you’ve only just subscribed, you may not yet have been issued with a subscriber number. In this case you can use the temporary web ID number, included in your email order confirmation.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

If you have any difficulties creating an account or logging in please take a look at our FAQs page.

Coffee House

Working families risk being shut out by Montague row

23 August 2012

11:50 AM

23 August 2012

11:50 AM

Today’s publication of the Montague Review into institutional investment in build-to-let addresses an important gap in our housing market. Large numbers of people, and a growing number of families, who would have bought homes in the past are now shut out of ownership for the medium to long term.

Dominated by buy-to-let landlords, the private rented sector currently offers them variable quality and limited security at a high price. These working families represent a new form of housing need but they risk being overlooked if the Review’s recommendations get caught up in a conflict between affordable housing (or social housing as it used to be called) and the private rented sector.

The recommendation causing all the consternation is the Review’s proposal that local authorities should have greater flexibility in negotiating affordable housing requirements on build to let schemes to help them get off the ground.

[Alt-Text]


The Review proposes that build to let developments should contribute a level of affordable housing commensurate with the returns that can be expected from such schemes. These will always be lower than the returns developers make on homes for sale. But nowhere does the Review advocate waiving affordable housing requirements on all market developments as much of today’s coverage suggests it does.

The housing associations that have come out against the Review largely because of its proposals on affordable housing are right that we desperately need more affordable homes. The stock is declining and policies such as right to buy will lead to further declines, regardless of what the Government says.

However, more affordable housing will not meet the needs of working families who are shut out of ownership. They will never qualify for an affordable home. Waiting lists stretch into the millions and the sector rightly prioritises the most vulnerable.  Build-to-let creates the opportunity to provide these low to middle income individuals and families with a purpose built, professionally managed, secure rented home.

The economic rationale for build-to-let is strong too. House building could help kick start the recovery, much as it did after the 1930s recession. The Review sets out evidence of its potential contribution to growth. Right now, lack of mortgage finance is the block to this growth. House builders will not build homes that no one can buy. Build-to-let has the potential to draw a new source of private finance into the sector to get building going while the mortgage market continues to struggle. The pilots on public land proposed by the Review could provide the catalyst for institutional investment to take off in the UK.

Of course, opponents are right that build to let is only one part of the solution to our chronic housing shortage. We also need greater investment in social housing and a return to sensible mortgage lending. But Britain needs to get building and to meet the needs of the growing numbers in the private rented sector, a new type of long-term rented home must be a significant part of our future housing market.

Vidhya Alakeson is director of research and strategy at the Resolution Foundation.

Give something clever this Christmas – a year’s subscription to The Spectator for just £75. And we’ll give you a free bottle of champagne. Click here.


Show comments
Close