COUNCILS in Yorkshire are looking to invest millions of pounds in a pioneering project to build new houses for rent as a way of helping families squeezed out of home ownership and give a boost to the region’s economy.
The Leeds City Region is asking for a £16m loan from a Government agency to part fund a project aimed at helping families struggling to get on the housing ladder.
The money would be used to build homes, in partnership with a private developer, which would be let by a management agent.
Once built and let to tenants, the scheme - covering a number of sites - could be sold as a going concern to a property investor or pension fund and the money re-invested.
The houses would be aimed at salaried workers who do not qualify for affordable or social housing but are unable to secure mortgages as banks and building societies demand higher deposits.
The Leeds City Region has asked for £16m from a £200m fund, managed by the Homes and Communities Agency, which aims to help grow the private rented sector.
David Green, leader of Bradford Council and chairman of the city region’s housing and regeneration board said: “Our proposals will help stimulate much needed new homes for young people and families unable to afford home ownership, whilst supporting new construction jobs and long term investment in housing.
House-building in the Leeds City Region has halved from the 14,000 per year before the credit crunch to around 7,000 per year now, even though there is land with planning permission for more than 60,000 homes.
A spokesman for the PricedOut group which campaigns on behalf of families that cannot afford to buy houses, said: “Building rented property isn’t giving people what they want.”