Authority has stablished its “ethical housing company”, Foundations, to accelerate the rent-to-buy sector in the city and is looking to press ahead with the first 100 homes in the next 18 months. Tony McDonough reports
More details of a major push to build or refurbish 10,000 homes for Liverpool and create 2,000 jobs via a new council-owned housebuilder have been revealed.
Liverpool City Council established its “ethical housing company”, Foundations, to accelerate the rent-to-buy sector over the coming decade by offering packages that take a percentage from rent towards a deposit.
It will also aim to create bespoke properties for the homeless, foster carers, large families, the elderly and people with a disability and to improve the availability of good quality, affordable homes in the city.
A report to the council’s cabinet on Friday (March 23) sets out a £50m budget to deliver the first phase of the programme, 100 units of two and three-bed homes, over the next 18 months and recommends the approval to begin recruiting a team of housing experts to deliver the scheme.
Over the course of the project over the next decade the total cost is expected to be around £500m. The council will look to borrow some of the money to seed fund the project but adds it hopes future phases can be funded via profits generated through the scheme.
Any borrowing for future phases would have to be approved on a case-by-case basis.
Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson says the project is fundamental to addressing the city’s need to develop 30,000 new homes by 2030.
He adds it is also important to its economic future as surveys show the city’s housing supply dominated by small terraced houses, which skews council tax revenues.
The council has identified a site within its ownership, in north Liverpool, suitable for the development of a minimum of 120 homes. It is proposed that the council itself invests in the construction of these homes and then sell on to Foundations.
Part of the growth strategy includes a focus on buying and refurbishing homes in areas most likely to be facing issues of housing stress. Between 140 and 300 such properties fall into this category.
The investment in land ensures a robust supply chain for the company. This land will be paid over a period of time from either future house sales or from a dividend payment. The company will appraise this methodology over its initial business plan and cash flow proposals.
Mayor Anderson said: “Foundations will radically reshape Liverpool’s housing market and is fundamental to ensuring the city’s growth is fair to all – providing quality, affordable homes for people with many differing needs.
“A lot of work has been going on behind the scenes to get Foundations up and running and the recruitment of the team is the first step to delivering a housing programme that will transform the lives of thousands of people for generations to come.”