Pandemic hits affordable home building
Building work on affordable homes in Sunderland slowed as the pandemic was blamed for delays in schemes, according to new figures.
Homes England data shows building started or was completed on 423 affordable homes in the city in 2020-21 – 157 fewer than the year before but in line with the number in 2017/18.
Homes England is sponsored by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to fund new affordable housing schemes.
Of the schemes progressing in the area in the year to March, 146 affordable homes were completed, including 117 affordable rentals, five social rentals and 24 affordable ownership homes.
Nationally, 28,191 affordable homes were started in 2020-21 – 21% fewer than the previous year.
Housing charity Shelter says with over a million households on the waiting list for a social home, any drop in affordable house building was a big problem.
Polly Neate, the charity's chief executive, said: "If this slowdown continues because developers lose confidence, the dream of a safe and secure future gets even further out of reach for many.
"We can’t only rely on private developers to build the housing we need. The Government needs to pull its weight and start building homes itself too.”
Peter Freeman, Homes England chairman, said he was confident the housing sector would recover, thanks also to a new £12bn Government-backed scheme to develop affordable housing.
He added: “The statistics show that we’ve kept building home despite the huge impact of Covid-19. We know there are still hurdles to overcome but we’re encouraged by recent data suggesting the sector is recovering well.”