The London Assembly Housing Committee published its annual Affordable Housing Monitor (AHM) today (November 2). New research from the report revealed that more than half of the affordable homes that had been started since 2016 were still incomplete as of March 2023.
Back in 2016, the Mayor of London was granted £4.82 billion in government funding to build affordable homes in London. He committed to start building 116,000 homes by 2021, this was then extended to 2023. He was then granted an additional £4 billion for the second phase of the Affordable Houses Programme (AHP) for 2021-2026, where he pledged to starting 35,000 affordable homes and a greater proportion of homes at social rent (meaning roughly half the local market rate).
I’ll let you take a wild guess as to whether or not these commitments were followed through with…
Well, this year’s AHM report revealed that although Sadiq Khan had met the target of starting 116,782 affordable homes; just 55,027 of them had actually been completed as of March. This leaves a whopping 61,755 homes incomplete. The vast majority of these remaining houses will supposedly be finished by 2029 (better late than never, hey?) but the Deputy Mayor has said that some of them won’t be finished until early next decade.
In 2022/2023, 13,949 affordable homes were completed in London. Leading the pack with the highest number of completions was Tower Hamlets (5,555), followed by Newham (4,709), Brent (4376), Ealing (4171), and Southwark (2781).
The new information revealed on the second phase of the AHP is fairly underwhelming, to say the least. Not only has the 2021-2026 target been negotiated down from 35,000 housing starts to between 23,900 and 27,200 (due to rising construction costs, economic challenges, and ever-changing market conditions); but none of these homes have actually been started yet.
Sadiq Khan has emphasised that the new AHP will be prioritising delivering more homes at Social Rent level. The number of low-rent homes being built is still far less than the amount needed in London. According to the GLA’s Strategic Housing Market Assessment, London needs around 31,000 homes at low cost rent each year.
Lord Bailey, the defeated 2021 Conservative mayoral candidate, said: “Ensuring there are enough high quality affordable homes for Londoners must be an absolute priority for the mayor, having been granted a total of £8.82bn by the Government for the 2016-23 and 2021-26 Affordable Homes Programmes. A lack of housing leads to Londoners being forced to live in sub-standard homes, which are often overcrowded and overpriced.”
A spokesperson for Mr Khan said: “Unlike the Government, Sadiq has met his 116,000 affordable homes target in full, putting London in a strong position to carry on delivering the affordable homes London needs.”
Seeing is believing, I suppose.
Read the full 2022/2023 Affordable Housing Monitor here.