METHODOLOGY FOR ASSESSING NEED FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING

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METHODOLOGY FOR ASSESSING NEED FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING Powered By Docstoc
					CONTENTS


SECTION                                                   Page No.
   1       INTRODUCTION                                       1
   2       STATUS OF THIS GUIDANCE                            2
   3       DEFINITION OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING                   2
   4       ASSESSING THE NEED FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING          2
   5       DISTRICT LEVEL ASSESSMENT                          2
   6       SUB-DISTRICT LEVEL                                 7
   7       HOW WILL THIS INFORMATION BE USED                  9
   8       PROCEDURES                                        10
   9       FUTURE ASSESSMENTS                                11

           APPENDIX 1 – GLOSSARY OF DEFINITIONS
           APPENDIX 2 – HOUSE PRICES BY SETTLEMENT
           APPENDIX 3 – RENTAL COSTS BY SETTLEMENT
           APPENDIX 4 – DISTRICT AND SUB-DISTRICT NEEDS
           APPENDIX 5 – MODEL SECTION 106 AGREEMENT
           APPENDIX 6 – CONTACT DETAILS FOR REGISTERED
                        SOCIAL LANDLORDS
           APPENDIX 7 - STATEMENT OF CONSULTATION
1.0   INTRODUCTION

1.1   Circular 6/98 (Planning and Affordable Housing) specifically acknowledges that “ A
      community’s need for affordable housing is a material consideration which may
      properly be taken into account in formulating development plan policies and deciding
      planning applications.”

1.2   The Circular uses the term affordable housing to encompass both low cost market
      and subsidised housing (irrespective of tenure, ownership or financial arrangements)
      that will be available to people who cannot afford to rent or buy houses generally
      available on the open market.

1.3   Policy H8 of the North West Leicestershire Local Plan states:

      “ Where there is a demonstrable need for affordable housing the District Council will
      negotiate with applicants/developers to secure the provision of an element of
      affordable housing as part of any development proposal.

      Where such provision is neither low cost market housing nor subsidised housing to
      be managed by a registered social landlord, conditions will be imposed (or a
      planning obligation negotiated) to provide secure arrangements for ensuring that the
      affordable housing remains available for occupation by suitably qualified people
      only.”

1.4   Policy H8 specifically acknowledges, in line with the advice in Circular 6/98, that
      there must be an identified need for the District Council to seek the provision of
      affordable housing as part of any new development. The supporting text associated
      with Policy H8 of the Local Plan makes it clear that the District Council will publish an
      assessment of housing need as Supplementary Planning Guidance. The District
      Council initially adopted SPG in respect of affordable housing on 14th January 2003.
      The adopted SPG anticipated that annual reviews would take place to take account
      of updated information. This revision of the SPG has been produced in accordance
      with this. In view of proposed changes to the planning system it is not known at the
      present time as to whether this will continue to be the case.

1.5   Policy H12 of the Local Plan establishes the District Council‟s policy in respect of
      affordable housing on “exceptions” sites in rural areas where housing development
      would not normally be acceptable. The information contained in this guidance may
      be used, together with other supporting information, to establish the need for any
      development that might come forward under the provisions of Policy H12. However,
      this guidance is principally concerned with securing affordable housing as part of
      general market housing developments.

1.6   The Circular suggests that “The need should be clear from the assessments used to
      develop the authority’s housing strategy”. The District Council produces an annual
      Housing Strategy Statement covering a five year period. The statement for 2004-09
      is in the process of being prepared and has included extensive consultation with a
      range of stakeholders.

1.7   A key element of the Housing Strategy is to establish the level of housing need in the
      district. In establishing the level of need particular regard has been had to the advice
      set out in „Local Housing Needs Assessment: A Guide to Good Practice‟ produced
      by the Department for the Environment, Transport and Regions in July 2000. The
      Housing Strategy identifies the amount of need for affordable housing as at May
      2003 and provides the basis for this guidance, which also outlines the methodology
      used to identify the level of need.


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2.0   STATUS OF THIS GUIDANCE

2.1   This consultation draft has been prepared to take account of the latest evidence of
      the need for affordable housing as identified as part of the preparation of the
      Council‟s Housing Strategy for 2004-09. Following this consultation and adoption by
      the District Council as SPG the contents of the SPG will be taken into account in the
      determination and negotiations of planning applications.

3.0   DEFINITION OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING

3.1   In identifying the amount of housing need, affordable housing is taken to be that as
      defined in Circular 6/98 (i.e. low cost market housing and subsidised housing (for
      rent or shared ownership) that will be available to people who cannot afford to rent or
      buy houses generally available on the open market).

4.0   ASSESSING THE NEED FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING

4.1   The Good Practice Guide identifies a range of possible sources of information that
      can be used to help identify the amount of housing need. It also sets out a basic
      model for assessing the quantitative requirement for affordable housing. This basic
      model has been used to identify the housing need at a district wide level.

4.2   This is then supplemented by more detailed assessment at a settlement (or sub-
      district) level which assess the relationship between house prices/rents locally and
      incomes for those seeking affordable housing.

4.3   Both assessments have sought, as far as possible, to have regard to a range of
      factors including local market house prices and rents, local incomes, the supply and
      suitability of existing local affordable housing, the size and type of local households,
      and the types of housing best suited to meeting these local needs.

4.4   The following sections explain the methodologies used at both district and sub-
      district levels. A glossary at Appendix 1 defines a number of terms which are used in
      the explanations given below. The assessments undertaken involved a number of
      assumptions, for example regarding the amount of mortgage that might be available.
      Where such assumptions have been made these are identified.

5.0   DISTRICT LEVEL ASSESSMENT

5.1   As already noted the Good Practice Guide establishes a basic needs assessment
      model “which all local authorities should try to follow, so far as is practicable”. In
      simple terms the assessment model seeks to establish need in annual terms over
      the period of the Housing Strategy (i.e. 5 years) and to the compare this to annual
      supply from within the existing and committed stock of affordable dwellings to then
      provide an overall need figure. Two types of need are specifically identified- backlog
      and newly arising need (see Appendix 1). The methodology can be summarised as
      the following:




                                              2
                                Backlog of existing need
                                            +
                                   newly arising need
                                             -
                              supply of affordable housing
                                            =
                net shortfall(or surplus) of affordable units per annum

5.2   In undertaking the assessment a variety of sources of information have been used,
      as advised in the Good Practice Guide. These include:

         Council‟s Housing Register
         Council tax records
         Migration information
         Population information and projections
         Housing needs surveys in rural areas
         Waiting lists and lettings information from Registered Social Landlords
         Local estate and lettings agents
         Land registry

5.3   Table 1 outlines the methodology used together with indications of data sources,
      whilst table 2 sets out the calculation. The following provides further details of a
      number of aspects of the calculation.

      Existing households (Line 1)

5.4   The Council‟s Housing Waiting List and Transfer list together with their supporting
      applications provided much of the information for the assessment. In order to avoid
      double counting those applicants who were new to the list or had received priority
      status since the 2002 list were excluded at this point (although there were
      subsequently included in the calculation at Line 11). Account was also taken of
      waiting lists of Housing Associations. Where a household appeared on both the
      Council‟s and a Housing Associations Waiting List they were excluded from the
      latter.

      In situ solutions (line2)

5.5   A number of households on the waiting lists (both Council and Housing
      Associations) are lower priority. For some of these households it is unlikely that they
      would choose to take up either a social rented property or other affordable option.
      Furthermore, to be classified as low priority there will be no problems in respect of
      the physical fabric of their existing dwelling which could not be remedied (e.g.
      through carrying out repairs) such that a house move is not required. Thus such
      households are excluded from the backlog need figure.

      Proportion unable to afford to buy or rent on the open market (lines 3 and 9)

5.6   A key factor is to determine the proportion of households unable to afford to
      purchase or rent on the open market. To help do this it is necessary to compare
      incomes against average house prices across the district. House prices are
      important in establishing an appropriate threshold of entry in to the housing market.
      Thus anybody whose income would not enable a mortgage to be secured at or
      above this threshold would be unable to afford to purchase on the open market.




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5.7    The Good Practice Guide suggests that in order to recognise the wide variations in
       house prices that a quartile, more particularly the lower quartile, be identified to
       represent the threshold. The Land registry is a recognised source of data on house
       prices as it records all transactions of property sales broken down by postcode.
       However, North West Leicestershire is, because of its location adjoining three county
       boundaries, covered by 12 separate postcode sectors. It is thus likely that house
       prices will be distorted especially where the postcode sectors include settlements
       outside the district boundary. In addition, the information is presented in terms of
       flats, terraced houses, semi-detached and detached. It is considered that a more
       meaningful measure is that of property type by bedspaces. To this end information is
       collected on an on-going basis from local estate agents. The information collected
       reflects the asking price as opposed to the sale price, but having regard to the
       buoyant housing market it is considered that any variations from the actual selling
       price will be relatively minor.

5.8    This information is then used to identify the lower quartile of house prices across the
       district, calculated to be £90,982. Appendix 2 identifies the average house prices by
       settlement. This information was used to obtain the lower quartile figure referred to
       above. As a comparison data from the Land Registry shows that at June 2003 the
       average price (excluding detached properties) was £86,791. This discrepancy is
       largely attributable to the fact that the Land Registry data is actual sale price (as
       opposed to asking price) and is based on a larger sample as it includes properties
       not within North West Leicestershire. In terms of the impact upon affordability this
       difference is not considered to be significant.

5.9    A mortgage lending multiplier of 3 ½ times the gross household salary has been
       used to assess the potential for those households on the waiting list to be able to
       afford to purchase on the open market. This was chosen because it represents the
       most common rate used by mortgage lenders. Thus a household (either existing or
       newly arising) would require a gross annual income of £25,995 to be able to secure
       a mortgage based on the lower quartile price referred to above.

5.10   Information in respect of household incomes was obtained from application forms
       filled in by households applying to go on the waiting list.

5.11   Whilst some households may not be able to purchase on the open market, other
       opportunities may arise from renting in the private sector. Information obtained from
       Council Tax and Housing Benefits records together with estate and lettings agents
       has enabled an average monthly private sector rent to be established of £342 per
       calendar month. Appendix 3 sets out the information collected on private rents
       across the district.

5.12   Having regard to the Good Practice Guide it was assumed that for the purposes of
       this exercise for private sector rent to be affordable it should equate to no more than
       25% of monthly household income. Once again information in respect of incomes
       was obtained from the waiting list application forms.

5.13   In total some 90% of applicant households could not afford to purchase or rent
       properties on the open market when their incomes were compared to these
       thresholds.

       Quota needed to reduce backlog (line 6)

5.14   Clearly any attempt to reduce an identified backlog of need can only occur over a
       period of time. The Good Practice Guide suggests a standard assumption of 20% of
       the total backlog of need identified (i.e. this implies that all the backlog need would


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       be eliminated over the 5 year period of any strategy). In this instance the total
       backlog need identified (Line 5) is 874 and a 20% quota produces a figure of 175
       (Line 7).

       New Household Formation (line 8)

5.15   Backlog need is concerned with those households who are in need. The second
       stage of the assessment model is concerned with newly arising need i.e. the number
       of new households who may form over a given period (i.e. 5 years) and the likelihood
       of these households being in need or existing households who may fall into need.
       The Government‟s 1996 Household projections were used to establish likely new
       household formation over the period 2004-09 (i.e. the period covered by the Housing
       Strategy).

5.16   The projections suggest that for 2001-2006 (the nearest period available to 2004-09)
       an additional 864 households would form. In addition, there would be 207 concealed
       households (i.e. those households who live as part of other households of which they
       are neither the head nor the partner of the head). However, it is likely that not all of
       these households would occupy separate dwellings. The technical paper to the
       emerging Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland Structure Plan suggests that 50% of
       these concealed households would be housed by 2016 (i.e. a 20 year period from
       1996). In view of the fact that 2009 is just over midway through this 20 year period it
       was assumed that only 25% (i.e. half of the 50% for the period 1996-2016) of these
       207 concealed households would occupy separate dwellings by 2009 (i.e. 50). Thus
       there would be 914 additional households (864+50) which equates to 183 per
       annum.

       New households unable to afford to purchase or rent (Line 9)

5.17   Information from the Waiting Lists identified that some 87% of new applicants were
       unable to afford to purchase or rent on the open market having regard to the
       thresholds identified above at paragraphs 5.9 and 5.11.

       In-migrants unable to afford market housing (line 12)

5.18   Household projections are concerned with the creation of new households. It is also
       necessary to have regard to the implications arising from in –migrant households in
       to North West Leicestershire since the previous Housing Strategy.

5.19   Information obtained from Council Tax records showed that there were 58 in-migrant
       households who were unable to afford to purchase or rent on the open market.

       Outcome of assessment

5.20   Having undertaken the various parts of the basis assessment model as outlined
       above, there is currently an annual shortfall of 104 properties across North West
       Leicestershire.

5.21   This level of need (104) is nearly twice the level identified in 2002 (53). Looking at
       the data in Table 1, while the number of people on the waiting list has increased
       (Line 1) so has the number of cases where an in situ solution was available (Line 2).
       However, there has been a significant increase in the percentage number of
       households unable to afford or rent (Line 3), up from 71% in 2002 to 90% in 2003.
       This is largely attributable to the increase in house prices up from £75,692 in 2002 to
       £90,982 in 2003, a 20% increase. As a result the annual backlog figure (Line 7) has
       increased from 144 to 175 whilst the newly arriving need figure (Line 13) has


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       increased from 576 to 688. Compared to previous letting rates for both Council and
       Registered Social Landlord properties it is estimated that the supply will increase
       from 667 to 759 dwellings.

5.22   This need figure in itself is very important as it indicates the scale of new provision of
       affordable housing required to meet the districts housing needs. However, the figures
       do not provide any indication in respect of the type of accommodation required, its
       size or location. Therefore a more detailed analysis is required at a sub-district
       (settlement) level to identify the characteristics of need as afar as possible.

6.0    SUB-DISTRICT LEVEL

6.1    The Good Practice Guide suggests that it might be possible to use the basic
       assessment model for sub-areas. However, it has not been possible to do so in this
       instance. In particular it has not been possible to obtain all of the necessary
       information (e.g. household projections, migration details) to predict likely newly
       arising need. It is hoped that this may be feasible in the future.

6.2    Thus at sub-district level an attempt has been made to identify the characteristics of
       the backlog need, in particular the type, number and location of properties required
       by using the supporting information provided as part of applications to the Waiting
       Lists. This can then be used to help guide decisions about the most appropriate type
       of properties that should be sought whilst having regard to the annual shortfall
       figures identified by the basic assessment model. The discrepancy between the
       results obtained by this method compared to those obtained in Table 1 is largely
       attributable to the fact that a number of Waiting List applicants have not included
       details of a preferred location. Thus it has not been possible to assign them to a
       particular settlement as part of the sub-district assessment. No attempt has been
       made to assess in more detail the likely newly arising need for the reasons outlined
       above.

6.3    The assessment has involved looking at all those households who have applied to
       go on the Waiting Lists (including new additions since 2002 but excluding those
       considered to be low priority – as outlined at paragraph 5.5) and have supplied
       information in respect of income, preferred property type and location. Using the
       same property price information as the district level assessment, the income level of
       households has been compared to the price of their preferred property type and
       location to ascertain whether they could afford to purchase or rent on the open
       market. As with the district assessment a mortgage multiplier of 3 ½ times income
       has been used in respect of potential purchasing whilst for renting it was assumed
       that the cost of rents should be no greater than 25% of monthly household income.

6.4    Those households who cannot afford to purchase or rent on the open market are
       thus considered to be in need. Further assessment of these households is then
       undertaken to ascertain the most appropriate type of affordable housing that is
       required.

6.5    In order to do this three different types of affordable housing are considered:

                   a) Low Cost Ownership
                   -    i) shared ownership
                   -    ii) low cost market housing

                   b) Social rented property (i.e. Housing Association/District Council)

       Each of these categories is considered below.


                                               6
       a) Low Cost Ownership

6.6    The figures for both types of Low Cost Ownership are included in Appendix 4 under
       the heading Low Cost Home Ownership. It should be noted that no applicants have
       expressed a preference for shared ownership but, as outlined below, the assessment
       has sought to identify those applicants where shared ownership might be an
       affordable option.

       i) Shared ownership

6.7    Shared ownership, as implied by the title, involves a household having part
       ownership of a property, usually set at 25%, 50% or 75%, with the remainder owned
       by a registered social landlord. Thus the household requires a mortgage to cover the
       appropriate proportion. In addition, the remainder of the value of the property attracts
       a monthly rental value. Thus where a household takes a 25% share in a property the
       remaining 75% will be owned by a registered social landlord who will then charge a
       monthly rental which reflects the market value of the property. Thus the household
       would need to be able to afford both the mortgage and rental elements.

6.8    The average property price for the required property type in the preferred location is
       ascertained. Where there is no average property price available for the preferred
       location then the District average for the particular property type is used. This is then
       divided by 4, to obtain a 25% share value which represents the most affordable
       shared ownership property. Thus for a property with a value of £70,000 and a shared
       ownership of 25% would be £17,500.

6.9    In order to determine whether shared ownership would be affordable it is assumed
       that the household income should be no more than the 25% share value.

6.10   A number of households with access to savings and/or equity which is insufficient to
       purchase on the open market but which is sufficient to cover a 25% share value
       potentially fall into this category.

       Low cost market housing

6.11   Low cost market housing involves the 100% purchase of a property but at a price
       that is below the open market value for such a property.

6.12   It is assumed for the basis of the assessment that such properties would be available
       at 85% of the full market value. This figure reflects the level at which such properties
       have already been secured as part of a number of developments across the district.
       Thus a property with an open market value of £70,000 would have a low cost price of
       £59,500 assuming 85% of market value. The issue of the appropriateness of the
       85% of full market value is considered in more detail in paragraphs 7.4 -7.7.

6.13   Based on a mortgage multiplier of 3½ times income then the above example would
       require an income of £17,000 per annum. Thus those households whose incomes
       when multiplied by 3 ½ is more than 85% of the market value of the preferred
       property type in the preferred location are considered to fall into this category.

       Social rented

6.14   All those households who could not afford to rent or purchase on the open market, or
       could not afford the shared ownership option, are considered to be in need of some
       form of social rented property. This is property owned by a registered social landlord


                                              7
       or the District Council and rented to households. Such households are classified as
       either priority or non-priority.

6.15   Having determined the number of potential households who would require social
       housing (both priority and non-priority) it is necessary to consider the possible supply
       of such housing from, for example, re-lets of existing property. The allowance made
       for this is then deducted from the possible need figure referred to above to give a
       residual figure which represents the need for social rented housing.

       Characteristics of need

6.16   The result of the assessment outlined above is set out at Appendix 4. This identifies
       the characteristics of need at both district and settlement level. The methodology
       used has not sought to reconcile exact demand and supply. Thus there may be
       occasions where there is an oversupply of a particular property type (identified by a
       minus figure in the individual tables). In these circumstances the oversupply has
       been simply deducted from the total need figure, even though the properties may not
       be capable of being utilised to meet the identified demand. There is thus a mismatch
       between demand and supply which may not be recognised. However, there may be
       opportunities to convert some properties to smaller units where there is a shortage of
       such smaller units available locally. Both the opportunities and the need to consider
       such options will vary across the district and can only be addressed by the respective
       social landlord.

6.17   From this assessment it can be seen that the overwhelming character of the need is
       for social rented properties. Out of a total need of 1214 dwellings some 1160 (96%)
       are within the social rented sector. Of those in need of social rented properties 630
       (54%) are identified as priority needs.

6.18   This propensity towards social rented properties reflects the fact that existing waiting
       lists have been used. It also suggests that those households that apply to go on a
       waiting list are doing so because they perceive that they have little opportunity to be
       able to compete in the open market, whether for purchase or rent. The analysis
       undertaken supports this.

6.19   In respect of property types the greatest need is clearly for smaller properties (1 bed
       flats and bungalows), whilst in the social sector there is generally an over supply of
       both 2 bed flats and 3 bed houses. Such properties may lend themselves to
       conversion to smaller units, thus reducing the absolute need. However, this is an
       issue that can only be addressed by the respective social landlords and at this stage
       is purely hypothetical.

6.20   In terms of location, the greatest need in absolute terms is concentrated in the
       Coalville urban area as might be expected in view of the fact that it has the largest
       population in the district. Outside of the Coalville urban area, Ashby de la Zouch and
       Castle Donington represent the next greatest levels of need.

7.0    HOW WILL THIS INFORMATION BE USED?

7.1    In accordance with the supporting text to policy H8 of the North West Leicestershire
       Local Plan and the advice in Circular 6/98, affordable housing will be sought as part
       of new housing proposals of 1 ha or more or which would yield 25 or more dwellings,
       where there is an identified need. The Government has published proposals (July
       2003) to reduce these thresholds to 0.5Ha or 15 dwellings respectively. Until such
       time as the Government has confirmed that these will be the appropriate thresholds
       the Council will continue to use the higher thresholds for negotiation purposes.


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7.2   The information contained in this statement will provide the basis for seeking to
      secure any provision. In doing so it will be necessary to have regard to not only the
      amount of need identified by the assessment in Table 1 but also the scale of
      development proposed. The information at sub-district level will also be used to help
      inform any negotiations as to the type and amount of properties required in particular
      locations. The following is an example as to how the information will be used to
      identify an appropriate amount of affordable housing for individual sites as a bais for
      negotiations.

      A site is put forward in Ashby de la Zouch.

      Total need figure for Ashby de la Zouch as identified in Appendix 4 is 242 which
      equates to 20% of total district need of 1214 as identified at Appendix 4. If this
      percentage is applied to the District wide assessment of need in Table 1 (104) this
      equates to 21 dwellings. This figure will then provide the basis for the negotiations to
      secure the provision of affordable housing required on the site. A similar exercise will
      also be undertaken in respect of types of property required (eg 2 bed houses
      account for 13% of need in Ashby de la Zouch. Based on the above figure 31 2 bed
      houses required in Ashby de la Zouch).

      In any negotiations account will also need to be taken of any additional affordable
      housing that has already been approved (at both district and settlement level) since
      the date of the housing needs assessment.

7.3   The District Council will seek to secure an appropriate amount of affordable housing
      having regard to a variety of factors, including the need for affordable housing and
      site size, economics of provision, the potential availability of public subsidy and the
      need to achieve a successful development, as outlined in Circular 6/98. However,
      whether the annual shortfall outlined in the basic assessment model will be
      addressed will be largely dependent upon the propensity for proposed new
      developments to firstly come forward and secondly for them to be acceptable in
      terms of planning policies. In respect of the latter the annual build rate of new
      dwellings in North West Leicestershire has consistently exceeded the requirements
      set out in both the adopted and emerging Structure Plans. Thus in the near future
      there will be less opportunity to secure affordable housing, particularly in respect of
      Greenfield developments. However, where developments are considered to be
      acceptable the Council, will seek appropriate provision of affordable housing.

7.4   Where affordable housing is to be provided the District Council will seek to ensure
      that such provision is achieved as early as possible in the development. A condition
      will be imposed or an agreement sought to specify when this should be. It would not
      be appropriate to specify a general target as a variety of factors will need to be
      considered, including size of the proposed development and the possible need for
      appropriate funding to be in place.

7.5   In respect of low cost housing for purchase, as already noted the assessment
      undertaken has assumed a level of 85% of the open market value. As noted in
      paragraph 6.12 this figure reflects the existing practice. However, monitoring of the
      sale price of such properties (via the notification and certification procedures outlined
      in Section 8) suggests that this is no longer an appropriate level. Over the period
      1999-2003 average price of low cost market housing secured via S106 Agreements
      has increased by 96 ¼% from £49,709 to £97,533 as at September 2003. All of
      these properties are either semi-detached or terraced. Data from the Land Registry
      shows that the price of all semi-detached dwellings over the same period has
      increased by 104% (£53,485 in 1999 and £109,609 in 2003) whilst terraced


                                             9
      properties have increased by 95% (from £42,725 in 1999 to £87,941 in 2003). Thus
      these increases in the price of these low cost market dwellings is in line with other
      rises.

7.6   The Leicestershire Economic Perspective 2002 (Leicestershire Economic Research
      Partnership) noted that the average household income for North West Leicestershire
      in 2000 was £22,300. Using the Average Earnings Index series produced by the
      Office for National Statistics it is calculated that this average income level would
      have been £25,048.10 in 2003. This is an increase of 12.3% which is substantially
      below the increase in house prices outlined above. Furthermore, assuming a
      maximum mortgage of 3 ½ times income it is below the level required to secure a
      100% mortgage to acquire the averaged price property (£90,982) set out in Table 1.
      However, from the information supplied by those applying to go on the Housing
      Waiting List the average income in such cases is substantially lower at about
      £12,600. Again assuming a mortgage multiplier of 3 ½ times income would provide a
      mortgage of £44,100. This is about 48% of the average house price (excluding
      detached dwellings).

7.7   Having regard to this income information, together with the cost of low cost
      properties secured via the planning system, it is thus immediately clear that the „low
      cost market‟ housing at 85% of the open market value cannot be regarded as
      meeting the need for affordable housing. As such if low cost market housing is to be
      provided it needs to be at a suitable level. If allowance is made for the possibility of
      those in need having additional savings and/or more capital than estimated in the
      application forms , it is considered that only low cost market housing available at no
      more than 60% of open market value could be justified in terms of helping to meet
      the identified need for affordable housing. It will also be important to utilise the
      procedures outlined below to ensure that such properties are available to local
      people on or below average incomes in order to meet the identified local need.

7.8   In view of the above it is considered that the planning system can best help meet the
      need for affordable housing by securing social rented properties. Thus the Council
      will seek the provision of such properties as a matter of priority.

8.0   PROCEDURES

8.1   A key element in the provision of any affordable housing will be the need to ensure
      that any properties remain available in perpetuity as affordable housing. In
      accordance with the advice in the circular this will not normally be an issue when a
      registered social landlord is involved. However, where the properties are to be low
      cost housing (whether outright purchase or shared ownership) the District Council
      will normally require a legal agreement to be entered into to secure such provision in
      perpetuity. A model/standard draft is attached at Appendix 5 and is based up on
      recent agreements entered into by the District Council.

8.2   In general terms the District Council will seek to use the following procedures. Those
      words in bold are outlined in more detail in the glossary at Appendix 1 with more
      detailed definitions set out in the model/standard agreement referred to above.

8.3   In the first instance any future sales should be restricted to Local people at or below
      the National Average Earnings Level at the time of sale. Where this cannot be
      satisfied within a period of 6 months for the initial sale and a period of 3 months for
      subsequent sales, then the area of eligibility will be extended to the same criteria
      within three miles of the district. If after a further 6 months for initial sales or 3 months
      for subsequent sales then the District Council will require evidence as to why sales
      have not been possible before allowing a property to be sold to any purchaser but as


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      affordable housing. Any affordable unit offered for sale should be notified to the
      District Council by way of an Availability Notice which should be accompanied by a
      Certificate of Value which should identify the Open Market Value of the property
      concerned. Any sale will then be restricted to the agreed percentage of this open
      market value. All purchasers will be required to sign a declaration stating that their
      earnings are at or below the National Earnings Level.

8.4   The District Council will use the Availability Notices to monitor the „turnover‟ of low
      cost market housing to establish trends to help inform future assessments of need

8.5   In view of the fact that the greatest amount of need is for social rented properties it is
      considered that registered social landlords should be involved as early as possible in
      the process. It is suggested that developers should do this when they have been
      informed by the Council as to the likely amount of need that will be sought (subject to
      negotiation). This may be prior to the submission of an application where the
      developer has requested such information. The District Council has not identified a
      „preferred‟ partner for the delivery of affordable housing. Appendix 6 identifies those
      Registered Social Landlords who currently own properties in North West
      Leicestershire together with contact details.

9.0   FUTURE ASSESSMENTS

9.1   The information in this statement is at May 2003. As part of the annual Housing
      Strategy the District Council reviews the waiting lists and undertakes a new
      assessment of needs. The intention was that this would then provide the basis for
      seeking affordable housing for the coming year. However, in view of proposed
      changes to the planning system it is not known at the present time as to whether this
      will continue to be the case.

9.2   Any persons who would wish to have such information on a regular basis should
      inform the District Council who will maintain a list accordingly.




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Description: METHODOLOGY FOR ASSESSING NEED FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING