Memorandum by Brighton & Hove City
Council (HOU 08)
Pressure on the housing market has seen housing
costs rise, pricing low or no income households out of the market.
Homelessness continues to be a major problem in the city as increasing
numbers of households are unable to find a market solution to
their housing needs.
The shortage of affordable housing has key social
and economic consequences for the city, the region and the country.
The need for adequate "affordable housing" is a direct
factor in terms of delivering economic regeneration and neighbourhood
The need for affordable housing can no longer
be seen just as a housing needs issue but is a cornerstone of
regeneration and renewal objectives.
How resources should be balanced between social
housing and options for owner occupation and whether any additional
mechanisms are required
The need for affordable housing in the South
East, and Brighton & Hove in particular, is acute. Additional
resources are required to increase availability of affordable
housing for those households with low and limited incomes. However,
as the gap between salaries and housing costs widen, increasing
numbers of households on average incomes are priced out of the
housing market. Therefore alternative measures and funding mechanisms
are required to provide a range of solutions to assist both low
and middle earners.
Highlighted below are key proposals that should
(a) An increase in affordable housing funding
programmes should be targeted to the South East with particular
emphasis on investment in Brighton & Hove.
(b) We welcome the use of "affordable
housing planning obligations" through regional planning guidance
and local plan policies. Current guidance should be strengthened
and opportunities to enhance a tariff system that prioritises
"affordable housing" via the planning green paper should
(c) Traditional "affordable housing"
including rented and shared ownership needs to be augmented by
the promotion of "intermediate market measures". Intermediate
market rented accommodation should be supported with a new grant
regime for RSL partners.
(d) The "keyworker" housing debate
has provided focus on the inter-relationship between housing and
business planning. Consideration should be given to promote these
links via appropriate fiscal business tax arrangements. For example
tax incentives to be introduced to encourage employers to support
housing options for their employees.
(e) The promotion of new affordable housing
or intermediate housing market products is key to increasing supply.
Private sector lenders and investors should be encouraged via
special mortgage products ie buy to let mortgages targeted at
keyworkers or co-op mortgage packages to empower shared households.
(f) PSBR and funding support arrangements
require review. Affordable housing and decent homes objectives
are key regeneration and renewal activities. The debate on altering
PSBR in respect of housing investment must consider the broader
strategy merits not purely housing objectives.
(g) The availability of affordable homes
within the existing stock is inter-related to the relationship
between affordable housing and the private sector. Encouraging
the investment in a lower cost private rented sector and facilitating
a business approach amongst private landlords will have essential
(h) Incentives should be enhanced to encourage
both public and private sector asset management in support of
affordable housing objectives. For example guidance and regulation
on achieving best consideration with regard to the disposal of
local authority land should be reviewed. Also tax incentives to
encourage land or property vendors to transfer sites to affordable
housing development rather than general market provision.
Scale and location of demand for affordable housing.
The adequacy of existing supply and amount of resources available
Here we highlight how housing need outstrips
supply and resources allocated to affordable housing. The booming
London economy has caused a "ripple effect" throughout
the South East and in Brighton & Hove in particularwith
residents and businesses moving out of the capital in search of
more affordable areas. This is turn exacerbates pressures on the
housing market which fuels housing costs that are well ahead of
Due to high land values particularly within
Brighton & Hove, it is difficult for Registered Social Landlords
to compete with private sector developers for sites. We welcome
that social housing grant rates have increased in recognition
of this but without further resources allocated to the provision
of affordable housing, the number of homes required will not be
Housing Needs in Brighton & Hove
During 2000-01 Brighton & Hove was in an
unprecedented position, experiencing homelessness acceptances
in excess of the supply of new lets to both its stock and that
of partner registered social landlords. In all, homelessness acceptances
exceeded the supply of lets by over 30 per cent during the year.
In comparison with London, during 2000-01, only
11 out of 33 boroughs
experienced a similar situation to Brighton & Hove with homelessness
exceeded the supply of lets.
Since 1997-98 we have seen a 76 per cent rise
in homelessness acceptances which has resulted in a twofold increase
in bed and breakfast usage, with almost 300 households now in
bed and breakfast accommodation.
Brighton & Hove is also in the difficult
position of having a relatively small social housing stock, at
15.3 per cent of dwellings compared to an England average of 20.9
per cent, making us particularly susceptible to increases in homelessness
and decreases of turnover within the social housing stock.
Analysis of our homelessness acceptances during
2001-02 shows that 50 per cent of acceptances are households with
children, or households expecting children. Just over 25 per cent
of acceptances have a priority need relating to mental illness,
with the other major categories being vulnerable due to physical
disability 12 per cent or young person households 9 per cent.
Just over 3 per cent of acceptances relate to old age.
The profile of homelessness acceptances during
2001-02 shows an overwhelming need for affordable family sized
accommodation within the city. Supported accommodation is also
significantly in demand, especially in relation to those with
a mental illness and young people. There is also a shortage of
affordable accommodation suitable for those with a physical disability.
Local research into Single Homeless People in
found around 470 single person households being accepted as homeless.
Overwhelmingly, the largest proportion of these, just under 50
per cent, had some form of mental illness. 15 per cent of all
single households were accepted as vulnerable because of their
age. The housing register maintained by the council also shows
a high demand for single person's accommodation, with over 50
per cent registered for such accommodation.
Analysis of homelessness acceptances throughout
2000-01 highlights that over 46 per cent is due to loss of private
rented accommodation. The high incidence of homelessness from
the private rented sector partly reflects the size of the sector,
at 20 per cent of all stock (twice the national average), but
is more directly attributable to high rents and limited affordability.
The last few years has seen a significant rise
in the cost of private renting, although not as extreme as the
increase in the cost of home ownership within the city.
The average rent of a 1 bedroom flat, at £613
is equivalent to the repayment of a mortgage in the region of
£110,000 (requiring an income of over £30,000 to finance).
The average annual household income in Brighton & Hove is
less than £20,000, pricing monthly rent payments significantly
in excess of that considered financially prudent for a mortgage.
BRIGHTON & HOVEPRIVATE SECTOR
|1 bed flat||£613
||£373.75||28 per cent
|2 bed flat||£839
||£487.50||21 per cent
|2 bed house||£854
||£487.50||23 per cent
|3 bed house||£1,048
||£ 590.42||23 per cent
|Source: Housing Strategy Monitoring (* Sept 2001 to Dec 2001)
The increase in private rents has particularly hit those
on benefits since the gap between the Housing Benefit indicative
rent and the market rent has widened as rental costs rose. An
increasing number of private landlords are now refusing to let
to tenants on benefits.
In Brighton & Hove, 64 per cent of rents referred to
the Rent Officer service are restricted. The average restriction
has been calculated at £14.09 per week, £61.06 per month
which private rented tenants have to top up from other benefits.
Housing Benefit tenants within Brighton & Hove have to contribute
a total of £3.4 million per annum to top up their rents,
with a discretionary fund of only £260,000 for cases of hardship.
Eviction by parents, friends, and relatives accounted for
31 per cent of homelessness acceptances during 2001-02. This is
perhaps a reflection of the comparatively young population within
the city, with 16-29 year olds at 23.1 per cent of the population,
significantly higher than the national average. Again, the affordability
of private rented accommodation is cited as the barrier against
the younger population entering the private rented and owner-occupied
sector. The single room rent restrictions exclude most under 25
year olds, with nearly 85 per cent of the local market having
rents higher than housing benefit level and subsequently, local
research has shown that only 2 of the 257 landlords on the Brighton
Housing Register would rent to under 25s.
Between 1998-99 and 2001-02 property prices in the city have
risen significantly with a large proportion of properties doubling
in value. Terraced houses in Brighton & Hove are now the third
most expensive in England and Wales, with only Greater London
and Windsor having more expensive terraced properties.
Brighton & HoveProperty Prices
|Property||2002 (Q1) Average Price
||Annual Income Required
||1998 (Q1) Average Price
||Annual Income Required
|| 77,493 || 152,344
|| 44,531 ||74 per cent
|| 49,717 || 94,428
|| 27,602 ||80 per cent
|| 50,415 || 85,290
|| 24,931 ||102 per cent
|Flat / Maison.|| 115,692
|| 33,818 || 53,375
|| 15,602 ||117 per cent
||£21,861 ||104 per cent
|Income required based on 95 per cent mortgage with income multiplier of 3.25.
Source: HM Land Registry.
Income levels have not risen in line with the increases in
the cost of accommodation within the city. With average household
incomes at less than £20,000 per annum, and a household income
of £44,536 required to purchase the average home, home ownership
in Brighton & Hove has moved out of the reach of those aspiring
to move into the sector.
The council's comprehensive Housing Needs Survey 2000 has
demonstrated very high levels of need in the city. 13,687 households,
11.8 per cent of the total, have a significant housing need and
are unable to afford suitable housing at market costs. Housing
need locally is nearly twice the average for similar surveys carried
out in 130 other districts, and similar to that in most London
Further analysis of housing flows and socio-economic trends
has made it possible to project housing needs over the next five
and 10 years, demonstrating a need to develop 15,727 additional
affordable dwellings by 2005 and 19,612 dwellings by 2010. This
equates to 3,000 additional affordable homes per year, whereas
currently less than 300 units of affordable housing per year are
being developed in the city.
The lack of affordable housing within Brighton & Hove
and the South East generally will have severe social and economic
consequences for the area.
London Houseing Unit, "No Let Up-supply and demand for council
housing in London 2000-01". Back
Brighton & Hove City Council, analysis of homelessness acceptances,
Brighton & Hove City Council, Housing Strategy Monitoring
(Sept 2001 to Dec 2001). Back
Brighton University, Research amongst hard to reach groups: 2000. Back