Hackney and Camden are to be the first councils in the country to build and manage homes for a mix of shared-ownership and private sale. Other inner-London councils, such as Southwark and Islington are expected to follow.
For many years, boroughs were barred from using cash from council house sales to build new homes. But the affordable housing shortage has sparked a rethink .
In Hackney, the first 20 of 500 new homes are nearing completion in Ponsford Street, E9, opposite the planned Hackney Fashion Hub, a multimillion-pound retail outlet centre with flats as well as clothing boutiques and design studios being built by Manhattan Loft Corporation. The homes will be offered first to Hackney council tenants before being released on to the open market, with priority given to key workers and Armed Forces personnel. Prices will start at £170,000.
Applicants buy a minimum 25 per cent share and then pay a subsidised rent on the remaining share. Only first-time buyers with a household income of less than £66,000 a year qualify — or less than £80,000 if buying a home with three or more bedrooms. Visit hackney.gov.uk.
The logic behind private sales is that the profits are invested back into the neighbourhoods in the form of new low-cost housing, public realm improvements, open spaces and new shops and community facilities. Most of the new homes are being created by regenerating existing council estates.
In Camden borough, about 1,200 new homes — a mix of private and public — are being built by the council. The first of these is Chester Balmore, 53 energy-efficient flats in a conservation area bordering Highgate Cemetery. Twenty-six of the flats are for private sale, with four for shared ownership. Prices from £300,000. Call Savills on 020 3320 8220.
Other mixed-tenure Camden projects coming up include Maiden Lane at King’s Cross, Bourne Estate in Clerkenwell, Tybalds Estate in Holborn, Abbey Road, just north of St John’s Wood, Bacton Estate at Gospel Oak and Agar Grove, Camden Town. New affordable homes are also being created as part of the redevelopment of Centre Point, the Sixties West End office tower.
Forty per cent of properties at King’s Cross Central, a new district being built on redeveloped railway land behind the station, are classified affordable, for rent and shared ownership. These are available through One Housing Group, which is releasing apartment blocks in phases. Call 0300 123 9966. Origin Housing, formerly St Pancras Housing Association, operates in Camden borough, where the average house price is £806,414, making shared ownership the only viable option for most first-timers who want to get on the property ladder. Origin owns and manages properties at Regent’s Place, a 13-acre office, retail and residential quarter alongside Euston station, and is selling shared-ownership flats at Lock Side in Camden Town. Prices start at £108,750 for a 25 per cent share. Call 0800 068 8990.
In the past, part-buy, part-rent properties tended to be seen as second best, which dented resale values. But new private schemes often include shared-ownership flats built by the same developer but managed and sold on by a housing association. Usually the homes are identical in design and specification to those available for outright sale on the open market. Lock Side is one such development, built by Taylor Wimpey.
Another is Aspire, a residential tower being built above Aldgate East Tube station. One-bedroom flats start at £105,700 for a 35 per cent share of a £302,000 home. Contact Network Living on 0844 335 2240. And Folio is part of a trendy new neighbourhood being built around a nine-acre canal basin moments from Angel. Prices from £131,500 for a 30 per cent share (full price, £437,500). Call Notting Hill Housing on 020 8357 4444.
Outer east London has some of the capital’s cheapest homes. Orchard Village is an £80 million award-winning makeover of a Sixties council estate built to accommodate Ford Dagenham workers. The new name picks up on the site’s former use as a fruit farm. Green corridors through the development link open spaces within and around the site, including a new community square with grids of trees and sculptures of oversize apples, cherries and strawberries. Circle Anglia housing association is working in partnership with the local council and building 555 new homes for rent, shared ownership and private sale over the next six years. Call 020 7288 4000.