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WMCA affordable housing definition is approved

Affordable housing / Shutterstock_509223637

The West Midlands Combined Authority’s (WMCA) Housing and Land Board has set its definition of affordable housing as the real-world incomes of people in the area rather than local house prices.  

The combined authority is the first region in the UK to introduce this definition of affordable housing and it means that people will pay no more than 35 per cent of their salary on mortgages or rent.

It described the definition as significant because development schemes receiving investment from the combined authority’s devolved housing and land funds must make at least 20 per cent of the homes in their scheme affordable. 

The body said it believes the change would provide affordable homes for local people and also encourages new types of affordable housing to come on to the market – benefiting key workers such as nurses, police and teachers.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “In recent years would-be homeowners have been forced to stand by and watch as house prices outstripped wages.

“The current ‘affordability’ definition is 80 per cent of market value, which for many people in the West Midlands still leaves homes frustratingly out of reach. 

“By linking the definition of affordability to local people’s earnings rather than property, and using this alongside our minimum 20 per cent requirement, we can help make the prospect of homeownership a very real one for many more hard-working individuals and families.”

The West Midlands needs to build 215,000 homes by 2031 to meet housing and economic demand. To achieve this, the combined authority has introduced a brownfield-first policy, whereby new homes and commercial developments would be built on former industrial land and funded by the government. 

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