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Affordable Housing

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Not Enough Affordable Housing

Affordable Housing: definition

‘Residential accommodation that is provided with a subsidy to ensure that rents/ prices remain at a level that is genuinely affordable to local people whose income means that they are unable to meet their housing needs through the housing market. In Brighton & Hove, affordable housing will typically be for rent and will be managed by a Registered Social Landlord.’

In May 2006 Halifax, the UK's biggest mortgage lender, published figures showing that house prices in Brighton had risen by 260% since 1996. Only Truro in Cornwall had seen a higher rise at 262%. In August 2006 the average price of a home in the city was £231,957; the average price of a flat was £180,144. Not surprisingly, many people on low incomes have no hope of buying a home in the private sector. In 2005 the council calculated that a household needed an income of £29,200 on a 95% mortgage to get a mortgage on a one bedroom flat in the least expensive part of town. Many people must therefore rent a home, either in the public sector (council or housing association homes) or in the private rented sector.

As can be seen from the table at the bottom of the page, Brighton & Hove by comparison with the rest of the country has a low level of home ownership, a lower than average level of tenants in either council or housing association properties and a much higher than average percentage of people in the private rented sector - a percentage which will probably continue to grow given the difficulty in providing affordable or social housing and given the year on year growth in buy-to-let landlordism.

In the blue box above I have quoted the city council's own definition of affordable housing. (In America affordable housing is often defined as a rent which is no more than 30% of a person's gross income.)

The city council owns just over 13,000 properties, while housing associations have around 5,000 properties. There are around 23,000 households living in the private rented sector. In 2004-05 the average council rent was £54-11, and in the same year there were more than 23,000 housing benefit claimants, in both private and public sectors.


The city has a major shortage of social housing. The last large social housing estate was built on the site of the old Bevendean Hospital at the top of Bear Road in the 1980s. The council has a local plan policy which states than all brownfield site developments of more than 10 housing units will include 40% affordable or social housing units. This is very good, but the problem remains of how to bring forward enough development to deliver sufficient numbers of affordable housing units.

The councils's own Housing Needs Survey (2005) found that "Annually, 2,520 affordable housing units are needed, 1,202 more than existing supply from re-lets, a new supply requirement significantly greater than current delivery levels."

Types of Housing Tenure

All Percentage of households Percentage of households
households owner occupied: rented from:
Owned outright Owned with mortgage or loan Shared 1 ownership Local authority Housing2 association Private landlord Other 3
Brighton & Hove 114,479 26.0 35.1 0.6 10.3 4.4 20.4 3.2
South East 3,287,489 31.3 41.9 0.8 7.4 6.6 8.8 3.3
England & Wales 21,660,475 29.5 38.8 0.6 13.2 5.9 8.7 3.2
Source: 2001 Census Briefing, Brighton & Hove City Council

Affordable Housing Links

Applying for Social Housing to the City Council Moving Home - for both council and housing association tenants

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