£60m fund to tackle second home problem

A new annual fund of £60 million has been set aside by the Government in order to assist almost 150 councils overcome the prominent issue of second home ownership within their communities.

With an aim to help the delivery of affordable homes from local groups, the Community Housing Fund is targeted at first-time buyers in response to the reduction in supply which can be caused by second homes.

Almost £20 million, or a third of the entire fund, will be specifically allocated for South West local authorities. This is because this region is the most popular for second home ownership in England at 21%.

The Government claims that first-time buyers are being crowded out of the market due to the proportion of second homes and as a result, the number of available properties is reduced.

Funding for the first year will go towards business planning, creating support hubs to provide advice, increasing local group’s capacity such as developing technical skills as well as providing staff to review local housing needs.

For the following year, funding will then be allocated to deliver homes for local people.

Commenting on the problems many face when trying to get on to the housing ladder was Gavin Barwell. The Housing Minister highlighted the central role that local groups have in providing affordable homes:

 “The high number of second homes can be a frustration for many who struggle to find an affordable home in their community.

“This new fund will help tackle that by boosting supply and make sure community groups are at the heart of delivering new homes so that this is a country that works for everyone.

“I saw for myself the great work community land trusts do on a recent visit to Cornwall and we want them to do much, much more.”

Director of the National Community Land Trust Network, Catherine Harrington also commented on the new fund, stating:

“We are delighted that the government is backing community-led housing with this new fund. Every few days a new community-led housing provider forms to take housing into their own hands, providing homes that are affordable to local people. This fund could triple the 3,000 homes that Community Land Trusts alone already have in the pipeline.

“We are now looking forward to working with local authorities to help them use the funding in the way it is needed most and develop a strong community-led housing sector in their area.”

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