Jurby Avenue Northwards
Northwards Homes on Jurby Avenue, Higher Blackley

Manchester seeks to retake control of affordable homes

Manchester City Council is consulting on whether to bring 13,000 homes back under council management, for the first time in 15 years.

Council-owned social housing in the city is predominantly managed by Northwards Housing, an arm’s length management organisation.

The review will look at the most appropriate option for how council-owned social housing is managed, although the council has already said its current preferred option is to bring management of these homes back in-house.

The move comes as council budgets are placed under increased strain due to changes in the Housing Revenue Account system, which has seen a Government-implemented 1% reduction over four years, resulting in a deficit of £11m over 30 years.

Meanwhile, the council revealed its intention to set up an affordable housing development company earlier this year, with a report progressing the proposals to be decided on today by the executive committee.

The plans were agreed in principle by the executive in March, with the aim of increasing the number of multi-tenure, eco-friendly, high-quality homes for lower-income families.

Manchester’s homebuilding target is for at least 32,000 homes to be built in the city between 2015 and 2025, of which 6,400, 20%, will be affordable to Manchester residents.

A local housing delivery company has the potential to deliver 2,000 homes, or 500 each year, up to 2025.

The business case review will be reported back to the council’s executive in September.

Cllr Suzanne Richard, Manchester City Council’s executive member for housing and regeneration, said: “We want Manchester residents to benefit from high quality, well-managed social housing. The most recent review of the Council’s ALMO was in 2016 and it is now timely that we do so again.

“Zero carbon retrofit, further fire safety investment and the need for continued investment in our existing homes brings with it huge financial challenges. It’s therefore right we should take the time to reflect on the challenges ahead and the best way to meet these.”

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I hear the term “affordable” – what is that value and who is it affordable too – many young people and couples can barely afford a minimum mortgage.

By Alan

Northwards have done a better job of keeping the housing in better shape than the council ever did

By Joan Wilson

All these “affordable” new houses are being built are all council bought but says for low income families not every one can afford to buy one hench why there in a council house

Over 50new houses have been built with last 6months near me non of them are council to rent just council to buy??

By Kat

@ Kat .. and the problem with that is?

By Tony C

@Kat, I don’t know the full details here in this specific case, but I highly encourge everyone to buy their own property rather than rent. If some form of government (local or otherwise) assistance is required to get that mortgage to buy the council house, then that should be provided by the government.

But we should never, ever encourage renting. If someone wants to rent, that’s fine, but it’s their bad long term decision. Owning is far better. Owning, especially on a fixed mortgage is far more secure than rents, which can go up with inflation (but not in line with wages) and which never ends. When the tennants reach retirement age, they will still have to pay rent on their low pension – at a time in the future when pensions will almost certainly be lower and rent higher than now.

If they own and on a fixed mortgage, their payements will be the same or lower in 20 years from now, whilst their wages may even be higher and after a period of time, everything will be paid off and they can live (comparatively) for free (minus rates, bills etc). That is a damn huge bonus. That is what we should encourage. Renting is a death trap, ownership is a path to freedom.

By EOD

Shortsighted decision. ALMOs and Housing Associations have a much better record of looking after property and residents than local authorities. Sounds like political dogma over service delivery.

By Anonymous