Billions more pledged for affordable-housing loan scheme

The government has injected £3bn into affordable housing, which it says will finance 20,000 new homes.

The extra funds were pledged towards the Affordable Homes Guarantee Scheme, which, for the first time, can now also be used to upgrade existing properties to make them safe or “fit for the future”.

Set up in 2020, the scheme provides loans to housing providers. The additional funding takes its total value to £6bn.

At least half of all loans from the scheme must be spent on new builds, while the rest may be used to upgrade existing properties. That could include energy features such as solar panels or safety upgrades such as the removal of dangerous cladding.

The government said the extra £3bn would help deliver 20,000 more affordable homes in England.

Providers will need to apply for loans via a capital markets bond programme, which is guaranteed by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. Currently, 12 providers are signed up to the scheme, which the government said has helped deliver more than 6,000 homes so far.

The scheme is being managed by investment management company ARA Venn.

Housing minister Lee Rowley said the cash would “not only improve the lives of those already living in homes, but help thousands of families benefit from new, high-quality, affordable housing”.

“We know getting cost-effective loans can be a stumbling block for many developers building more affordable homes or upgrading their existing stock so it is of the quality tenants deserve,” he added.

Richard Green, a partner at ARA Venn, said the firm was “look[ing] forward to continuing and building on the success of the Affordable Homes Guarantee Scheme that has already proved a key source of funding for the sector”.

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