£10.6m funding boost for Stonewater affordable homebuilding programme

Leading social and affordable housing provider Stonewater’s homebuilding plans have received a £10.6 million funding boost from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).

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Following its successful bid to the HCA, Stonewater will use the money – allocated this week the Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme 2016 to 2021 – to build 422 grant funded new homes. They will comprise 274 Help to Buy: shared ownership homes; 133 Rent to Buy properties and 15 specialised rental homes for vulnerable people. The new properties will be constructed across Stonewater’s operating areas including new homes in Bedfordshire, Dorset, Somerset, Sussex, Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Worcestershire.

The news came as the Government announced a dramatic expansion of its £7 billion affordable homes programme, designed to increase the availability of affordable homes.

“This major HCA grant allocation will enable us to deliver a significant number of new affordable homes for the people who desperately need them and we’re delighted that we can now start work,” says Jonathan Layzell, Stonewater Executive Director of Development. “The successful funding bid reflects our ability to provide new homes through a variety of tenures in the areas where they are most needed and help those currently locked out of the market.

“At the same time, we welcome the Government’s focus on widening the ways available for people unable to access the housing market to become home owners.

“The funding bid forms part of our overall development programme which will see us invest nearly £400 million in creating new affordable homes, available through a range of tenures, over the next five years. For Stonewater, this additional money will bring about an expansion of our shared ownership housebuilding programme which is successfully bringing low-cost home ownership within reach of those unable to buy on the open market.”

Stonewater’s shared ownership homes start at prices as low as £50,000 for a 40% share depending on location. Buyers can purchase up to 75% of the property initially, paying rent on the remaining equity, with the option to own their home outright over time. The Rent to Buy properties - offered on short-term tenancies at below market rents – help working people finding it difficult to afford local house prices to save for a deposit and buy the property they are living in. The successful HCA funding bid will also enable Stonewater to create new specialist housing for older people.

Stonewater currently owns and manages over 30,000 homes across England. Last year the housing provider delivered 650 new homes. It expects to exceed this number during 2016/17.