In an era where house building consistently falls short of government targets, both for private and social housing, there has been recent news to cheer a lagging sector with new and inventive ideas making their way into the market.
In June this year, Worthing Council agreed a project with BoKlok (a company jointly owned by IKEA and construction firm Skanska) which specialises in factory-built, environmentally-friendly housing with low construction costs. Having been formed in the 1990s, BoKlok claim to have built more than 11,000 homes throughout Scandinavia and have now agreed to build more than 150 prefabricated units for the council which are designed to be “affordable for a single parent”.
Under their agreement, Worthing Council would lease land to BoKlok and charge ground rent on it. BoKlok will develop the land and allocate 30% of the properties built for social housing with BoKlok selling off the remaining units, with hope that the units will be able to be moved into by early 2021. This does not appear to be a one-off venture for the developer as they are currently advertising on their website for more land within the UK to develop.
This is not to say that all entities looking to get into social housing are looking to help the local area. US private equity firm Blackstone has come under scrutiny for its purchase of the majority shareholding in UK social housing provider Sage Housing, with many calling into question their long term aims in social housing. They are not the only corporation who have found themselves moving into the social housing market and it is to be seen how affordable the housing they will provide will be.
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