Understanding Affordable Housing

What is affordable housing?

There are three main forms of affordable housing, these are:

  • Social rented housing – where a house is let at low rent by local authorities or a registered provider on a secure basis to those who are most in need or struggling with their housing costs. The social rent level is set by government
  • Affordable rented housing – where a house is let by local authorities or registered providers to households at a rent at least 20% below local market rents
  • Intermediate housing – where homes are available to buy or rent at below market levels, but above social rent levels. This may include shared ownership and equity loan schemes.

Affordable housing is provided to eligible households whose needs are not met by the market. Eligibility is determined with regard to local incomes and local house prices. Affordable housing schemes will include provisions to remain at an affordable price for future eligible households or for the subsidy to be used elsewhere for alternative affordable housing provision.

How is affordability calculated?

Affordability is a key issue in Rochford District, as a relatively high proportion of our residents are unable to afford their own homes. Affordability is measured by comparing the lowest 25% of earnings to the lowest 25% of house prices, which provides an ‘affordability ratio’. Our latest evidence highlights that in 2014, the affordability ratio for Rochford District was 9.7 – this was the highest in South Essex, and substantially higher than the England average of 6.9.

How are affordable homes allocated?

Affordable homes (both social and intermediate homes) are allocated in line with the Council’s Housing Allocations Policy. This means that only those who live in or have connections to the district, and are on the Council’s Housing Waiting List are eligible to be considered for an affordable home. As of 21 December 2017, there were 650 households on the Council’s Housing Waiting List.

How many affordable homes are needed in the district?

Our latest evidence, the South Essex Housing Market Assessment (2017), identifies that there is a need for around 296 affordable homes per year up to 2037.
How many affordable homes have been delivered in the district?

Between 11 December 2011 and 27 October 2017, a total of 257 affordable homes have been delivered in Rochford District to meet local needs.

How is affordable housing delivered?

Affordable housing is most commonly delivered as part of new developments of market housing. Our adopted policy requires that 35% of all new homes delivered on developments of 15 or more homes, or on sites large than 0.5 hectares, must be affordable, unless the applicant can prove that this is unviable.

Where can I find out more?

You can find out more about affordable homes, including Help to Buy here

We are asking for your views on how we plan to meet our need for affordable housing over the next 10 to 20 years. You can find out more information on our consultation, which is open until 7 March 2018, as well as our Local Plan evidence base, in the Related Content section.