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16 November 2023

Councils join housing partnership to boost supply of affordable homes

City of York Council and North Yorkshire Council have joined 23 housing associations that are working to increase the supply of affordable homes and improve the lives of people living and working across York and North Yorkshire.

The York and North Yorkshire Housing Partnership oversees the delivery of the York and North Yorkshire Housing Prospectus which was published earlier this year. The prospectus has three key priorities: building the right homes in the right place, the drive to net zero and boosting jobs and the local economy.

Between them the 23 housing associations own and manage around 30,000 homes across the region and contribute around £75 million to the local economy every year.

More than 8,000 people across York and North Yorkshire are waiting for a home, a problem that is made worse by record high rents and house prices. Average rents in some areas of the region make it one of the least affordable places to live in the UK. In York for example, the average private rent topped £1,000 per month for the first time this year and prospective buyers now need more than nine times their annual income to buy a home in some parts of the city.

The region’s rural areas are suffering too. Some places have seen housing waiting lists increase by 66% over the last five years and the most desirable locations are commanding property prices that far outstrip average wages. Building more affordable homes in rural areas is key to giving younger people and those on lower incomes the option to stay and work in their local communities.

City of York Council has already committed to building 600 new homes on council-owned sites across York as part of its Housing Delivery Programme. As part of its plans, at least 40% of the homes built will be classed as affordable, helping to address the housing need across the city.

North Yorkshire Council is currently consulting on its draft housing strategy, an ambitious five-year plan that could see around 4,000 affordable homes built as well as developing a council housing growth plan to increase and improve its existing stock of 8,500 homes.

Nick Atkin, Chair of the York and North Yorkshire Housing Partnership said: “We are delighted to welcome City of York Council and North Yorkshire Council into the York and North Yorkshire Housing Partnership. Together with the 23 housing associations working across the region, this now cements our position as being the go-to body for anything housing related across the region.

“We have bold and ambitious plans that will make the region one of the best places to live and work in the country by increasing the supply of affordable homes and creating communities where people can thrive.

“It’s only by working together that we can make this happen and we are looking forward to working closely with both councils as we work to improve the housing offer across the region.”

North Yorkshire Council’s executive member for housing, Cllr Simon Myers, said: “This is an exciting new development for housing in the county and York, which is home to diverse housing markets, with varying housing needs and many challenges.

“Our draft strategy looks to take a proactive approach to housing delivery, and develop a bold plan to deliver more homes, including more affordable properties over the next five years. This partnership will further develop those plans.”

Commenting on joining the partnership, Neil Ferris, Corporate Director of Place at City of York Council, said: “We’re delighted to belong to the Partnership whose ambitions dovetail with our own Council Plan to help people access more affordable homes to support good health and tackle climate change.

“As part of our award-winning Housing Delivery Programme we’re introducing Passivhaus standards to cut carbon emissions from our homes. We’re also helping upskill the local workforce with retrofitting energy efficiency measures and are creating more jobs in this growing sector.”