Associations fail to sell 9,655 low-cost ownership properties
Thousands of new homes stand empty
Thousands of homes built by housing associations to help people on to the property ladder have lain unsold for more than six months, figures obtained by Inside Housing reveal.
Associations have failed to shift 9,655 homes, according to a Housing Corporation survey of 215 social landords last month. Almost 40 per cent of the homes – with an estimated value of £640 million – have sat empty for more than six months.
The number of unsold properties is equivalent to 45 per cent of associations’ output of 21,538 low-cost homes last year.
David Ireland, chief executive of the Empty Homes Agency, said the figures oustripped the national vacancy average of 3.5 per cent. ‘This is massively more. It is one of the highest concentrations of vacant homes,’ he said.
Housing associations should find ways to use the unsold properties until they found buyers, he added. ‘Leaving them empty is a horrendous waste.
’Lucy Thornycroft, policy officer at the National Housing Federation, said ministers should help increase mortgage supply.
‘The government now owns one bank and parts of others. [It] should use that position to ensure the flow of shared ownership mortgages.
’A spokesperson for the corporation said it had £130 million of social housing grant tied up in the homes unsold for more than six months. It was monitoring the situation and working with developers on other options, such as rent to homebuy, she said.
Meanwhile, developer Taylor Wimpey said in an interim statement that it had cut its number of unsold homes by 35 per cent to around 1,300 during the past six months. But it has also cut its build rate by 40 per cent.
That empty feeling
9,655 Low-cost homes unsold
3,677 Unsold for more than six months
£640 million Market value of homes unsold for more than six months
Source: Housing Corporation