Wakefield and District Housing to invest £26.7m in new homes

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The district’s social housing provider has more than doubled its spending on new homes.

Wakefield and District Housing (WDH) said it increased investment in new homes to £27.6m this financial year, up from £16.6m in 2014.

The organisation is building more homes for buyers under outright sales shared ownership arrangements, as well as rental properties.

New developments by Bridge Homes, a joint venture WDH set up with Wakefield Council, include 32 homes for sale in Stanley and 120 more homes planned at other locations.

WDH chief executive Kevin Dodd said: “We want to create as many opportunities as possible for people to get on the property ladder as well as investing in skills and jobs in the local area.”

The new homes are being built after grant funding for affordable housing was slashed under the Housing Bill.

A report to Wakefield Council’s cabinet said grants were cut from 40 per cent, or £60,000 on average, for each new build property to 20 per cent - around £24,000.

It said: “This means that RPs (registered providers) are now financing around 80 per cent of the cost of new homes themselves, typically through commercial borrowing.

“Those RPs who wish to keep providing new affordable homes have had to accept the greater degree of risk which comes with increased borrowing.”

Social landlords also face reduced income after being required to cut rents by one per cent a year until 2020.

WDH’s latest accounts said the move “will result in reduced rental income receivable by the company, estimated to be some £18.8m at the end of the period to 2020.”