Aileen Jones, LCRCA, c PNW

Liverpool City Region's Aileen Jones spoke about how the combined authority is tackling the housing crisis in Liverpool. Credit: PNW

MIPIM | Affordable housing – lessons from Germany and Spain

MIPIM coverage sponsored by TogetherThe UK is by no means the only nation suffering from a lack of good quality affordable accommodation. Our European neighbours are also having to dig deep to tackle the issue.

Speaking at an event about innovation in the housing sector at MIPIM, Germany’s housing minister Klara Geywitz and Iñaqui Carnicero, secretary general of urban agenda, housing, and architecture in Spain, shone a light on what their respective countries are doing to deliver more affordable homes.

While the UK government has been accused of inaction when it comes to stimulating the housing market – last week’s budget being a case in point – other nations are taking steps to breathe life into the sector.

Germany is facing many of the same issues that have reared their heads in the UK in recent years, such as soaring rents and a lack of supply, Geywitz said.

In response, the country is doing three things: relaxing building regulations to pave the way for certain types of development, killing two birds with one stone by converting empty office buildings into apartments, and providing an €18bn cash injection to boost the delivery of affordable homes.

In Hanover, efforts to revitalise the city centre and provide more homes are intertwined. Mayor Belit Onay said the city is incentivising developers to innovate by awarding contracts for the “best idea” rather than the best price.

Last year, Spain pledged to provide 20,000 new affordable homes by 2026 by building on disused military land. Carnicero said the country is on course to meet that target, upping it to 24,000. The Spanish government has also set up a £4bn loan programme to finance affordable housing.

Spain is also embracing newer housing models such as co-living to add to its supply of homes and respond to ever-evolving living preferences, according to Carnicero.

“By joining forces and fostering mutual understanding we can create a brighter future for our communities,” he said.

“Challenges lie ahead but so do opportunities. Housing is not just a necessity but a foundation for thriving communities.”

The large cash injections from their respective governments mean towns and cities in Spain and Germany have a chance of tackling the housing crisis.

In England, which is much more centralised – especially compared to Germany – regions have a lack of control over their housing destiny.

Speaking at the same event, Aileen Jones, executive director of investment and delivery at the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, said the organisation had invested £100m retrofitting poor-quality homes in recent years.

However, Jones believes more could be done if regions were afforded greater autonomy over the money they are given.

“We have been making the case for a sustainable single settlement so we are not constantly having to competitively bid nationally against other city regions,” Jones said.

“Liverpool City Region needs to grow its housing stock by more than 4,500 homes a year to meet need and ensure we have the right properties not only for existing residents but to grow our economy, attract new talent, and attract inward investment.”

Place North West MIPIM 2024 coverage is sponsored by Together.

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Yes, look to similar countries in Europe for comparative analysis ansuccessful case studies; NOT the USA unless to learn what NOT TO DO. Learn what works and does not work from others, No need to theorize or re-invent the wheel.

By Anonymous

So many empty homes in Liverpool ,either boarded up or left derelict. Look at Ducie St, lovely properties that with the will could be revitalised just like the Welsh Streets. Also many terraced streets would be far more attractive if the back alleys were done away with , these houses in London have no alleys and are highly popular.

By Anonymous

There’s too much social housing in this country, it creates an unhealthy culture

By Anonymous

@Anonymous 10.53am, I think you’re right…areas of our cities and towns with just social housing locks in poverty forever more. A lot more of shared ownership, with rents plus small mortgages and an eventual right to own would be better for areas….I think.

By Old Hall Street

Social Housing providers still have a role to play and can come up with some quality design, just look at the Regenda scheme at Grovelands in Central Liverpool, it’s going to look class and will provide a mix of ownership and rental.

By Anonymous

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