The London Housing Strategy sets out the rationale for the Greater London Authority (GLA) to take a more interventionist approach in London’s land market.
The aims are to:
- build more social rented and other genuinely affordable homes
- accelerate the speed of building
- capture value uplift for public benefit
A failure over recent decades to build the number and sorts of homes London needs has left Londoners facing a housing crisis characterised by increasing affordability pressures and rising housing need. To help address this, the draft London Plan identifies capacity for 65,000 new homes per year over the next 10 years, with a strategic target for 50 per cent of these to be genuinely affordable. In the shorter term, the Mayor has secured funding from the Government to start 116,000 genuinely affordable homes by March 2022.
These numbers are ambitious and challenging. The GLA is keen to work with private developers, registered providers, local authorities, and other public-sector bodies to find ways to unlock and increase affordable housing delivery in the capital.
The Mayor has therefore established a Land Fund to enable the GLA to be more interventionist in its approach. The Fund comprises at least £736 million, drawn from the GLA’s housing and land resources alongside funds the Mayor has secured from the Government.
Part of the Fund has been allocated for recoverable investments, including buying and preparing land for onward sale and development. This allows the GLA to reinvest receipts to unlock more opportunities in London. The Fund is unconstrained in respect of the type of investment (e.g. debt or equity) that can be provided. The GLA is willing to consider a broad range of investment opportunities with partners including co-investment.
Homes for Londoners (a dedicated housing delivery team within City Hall) is seeking to roll out the Land Fund in areas that offer acceptable returns on investment to support delivery of the Mayor’s strategic objectives.
In summary, these are:
- increase overall numbers of affordable homes delivered
- secure wider social and community benefits
- deliver acceptable financial returns