Industry professionals to discuss housing shortage at Brighton’s Royal Pavilion

During the south east’s biggest housing event, Total Housing 2019, held at the Hilton Brighton Metropole, leading national housing association Stonewater hosted a fringe event for housing professionals to discuss the chronic housing shortage in the south east on Wednesday, 6 March.

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Hosted by the Chartered Institute of Housing, Total Housing is known as ‘the housing event for South East and London’ with the aim to bring sector professionals from across the regions together, to address the housing crisis by developing practical solutions.

Stonewater held a networking event at the end of the first day at the Royal Pavilion. Sector stakeholders from consultancies, law firms, construction companies and other housing associations met to hear more about the affordable home landlord’s pioneering plans in the region.

Since its creation in 2015, Stonewater has quickly made real progress, becoming one of the UK’s largest affordable housing providers. The ambitious company aims to deliver 4,850 high-quality, affordable homes over the next four years.

Stonewater’s development programme is supported by its financial strength and stability. Together with the Guinness Partnership, Stonewater is Homes England’s largest strategic partner, securing £224m in October 2018 to build 4,500 homes. The housing association also received the green light in December 2018 from the European Investment Bank for a £100m loan.

Throughout the evening, many key topics were addressed such as Stonewater’s plans in readiness for the impact of Brexit on the sector, wider political and economic uncertainty, and housing policy reform. Stonewater also celebrated its achievements since the successful merger and shared their ambitious future plans with the attendees.

Stonewater’s CEO, Nick Harris said: “It was very fruitful two days having progressive conversations with sector professionals. The south east is a great location, with beautiful coastal towns as well as easy access to the capital. However, there simply aren’t enough homes – especially the homes that people can realistically afford. The last two days have provided real opportunities to engage with fellow housing professionals to consider practical solutions to the housing crisis in the south east.”

According to research by the National Housing Federation, more than 90,000 homes need to be built in the south east each year in order to solve the housing shortage. Currently, only one-third of the target is being met. The NHF’s External Affairs Manager, Dave Smith, described the housing crisis as “the most serious issue facing the South East1.”

In the region, less than half of prospective home seekers under the age of 40 can afford to buy a home. Around 76,000 homes are needed at either below market rent or for sale at affordable prices to make an impact.