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    Landowners Willing to Sell for Affordable Rural Housing
09/06/08

Nearly 40 percent of rural landowners would put forward land at below market value for affordable housing, says RICS research published this week.


agricultural land

Chartered Surveyors report that clients (farmers and landowners) would put forward land for affordable rural housing at below the market value and would be more likely to sell if the buyer is a housing association or community trust. However, some would sell purely for altruistic reasons with many willing to put forward land for the benefit of the community. Clients were least likely to sell to a local authority and many would ignore encouragement to sell from local government.

Landowners are also concerned about the lack of control over occupation and long term ownership following the sale of land. Many would require that the resultant housing stock be made available for family members, staff, those employed in agriculture and those living in adjoining parishes.

The problem of a lack of rural affordable housing is particularly acute in the South West. RICS Affordability and Accessibility Indices states that this largely rural region is the least accessible and affordable outside London and the South East. RICS believes that a planning restriction requiring homes built on land provided at below market value should be introduced, requiring these houses to be made available only to members of the local community. These houses should also not be made available for sale in the future as general market housing.

RICS spokesperson James Rowlands commented:

“Many landowners are willing to sell land for reduced prices to build affordable housing but want reassurance that it is the local community that will benefit. Guarantees must be put in place by government to ensure that the generosity of landowners benefits young people, farm workers and other groups who are struggling to afford to live in rural areas close to work, friends and family. Restrictions must be put in place through the planning system to keep affordable homes for these groups, rather than allowing them to simply be sold through the general housing market.”

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