There are two distinct meanings of affordable housing, the ‘common’ understanding, and the offical usage version:
- Common Understanding – Affordable to someone on median income, to buy/rent and run at market prices ie low cost or reasonably priced housing.
- Official Usage – Affordable as used in Government’s Affordable Homes Programme and supported in housing development plans. It means houses provided at below market prices and subsidised by the UK taxpayer , ie social or shared ownership housing, in one of the following categories:
- social rented housing which is to be made available to households whose cannot afford housing at market prices
- Intermediate rented housing – above social housing rents but below private rents; often provided by housing associations
- Discounted sale housing
- Shared equity housing with housing associations or other body
- Shared ownership housing – purchaser may buy an initial share in the house whilst the rest is retained by the housing provider. Further shares can be purchased at a later date.
Social housing (affordable housing) is run by Housing Associations. Housing Associations are frequently sub-contracted by councils to manage their council/social housing waiting lists and housing obligations.
Housing stock can be classed as :
- Emergency shelter
- Transitional housing
- Social rental housing
- Intermediate and Private rented
- Market housing – sold in accordance with economic maket conditions, includes low cost housing Low cost housing often is not included in the term ‘affordable housing’.
Quote on ‘affordable housing’ from Vidhya Alakeson of the Resolution Foundation, who support people on low-median incomes – “affordable housing will not meet the needs of working families who are shut out of ownership. They will never qualify for an affordable home. Waiting lists stretch into the millions and the sector rightly prioritises the most vulnerable.” 23 August 2012, The Spectator