Housing survey reveals ‘leaking bucket’ of Right to Buy sales

Local authority housing companies were unable to replace almost a third of homes sold under the government’s controversial Right to Buy scheme last year, according to a new survey.

The survey by the National Federation of ALMOS (arms-length management organisations) reveals council-owned housing companies were only able to replace 69% of Right to Buy sales in 2018.

The National Federation represents 31 ALMOS across the country, which manage a total of 417,913 homes.

According to the survey, its members built around 2,000 homes last year but sold over 2,813 homes under Right to Buy, which means a net loss of at least 864 properties.

The survey also reveals that over the next 12 months, the sector plans to build 1,801 new build homes and acquire 713 homes, making a total of 2,514.

And over the next five years, the sector has plans to build at least 7,265 homes, although plans are being reviewed in the light of the lifting of the borrowing cap.

In January, Labour’s London Assembly Housing spokesman, Tom Copley claimed London councils are spending more than £22m each year renting back homes sold off under the Right to Buy programme.

Mr Copley said at least 54,000 homes sold under Right to Buy in the capital are now being rented out privately.

‘This year’s annual survey of the ALMO sector shows how important our members are in the communities where they work,’ said Federation managing director, Eamon McGoldrick.

‘They have continued to build new homes, deliver services on behalf of their parent local authorities, and contribute to the wellbeing of communities.

‘However, the survey also shows the impact that Right to Buy is having on the stock of council housing, with ALMOs only able to replace 69% of the Right to Buy sales this year.

‘Whilst we welcome the recent changes to local authority finance which will support the building of a new generation of council housing, unless the government implements the flexibilities to Right to Buy that we have been calling for, it is like a leaking bucket; the sector will continue to lose more council homes than it can replace.’

The full survey by the National Federation of ALMOs is available to read here.


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