A lesson for New Zealand. Build without market speculation through properly regulated public-private partnerships.
On the outskirts of Sheffield, UK, hundreds of new homes are springing up, built by the council to space standards that have all but disappeared in the private sector. New residents – the majority are 25-35 year olds – say they are impressed by the designs and spaciousness, and enjoy their close proximity to the city.
But this is not a return to the era of 1950s and 1960s council building. What Sheffield Housing Company (SHC) is doing is partnering with contractors to build low-cost homes for first-time buyers and families alongside houses and flats to rent at affordable prices, and with tenants better protected.
Affordable rent is based on 80% of market value – for example, a three-bedroom semi-detached house with drive and large back garden is around £115 per week. There are no letting fees, and tenants’ rights are the same as for traditional council tenants. Allocation is based on housing needs.
Sheffield has managed to do what the private sector, on its own, failed to do: build low-cost housing in areas that until now have been regarded as derelict or run-down.