(2) what steps he plans to take to increase the number of dwellings available for low-cost home ownership in the West Yorkshire area.
There is substantial investment in West Yorkshire and the Leeds City area to deliver additional affordable homes, including both rented and low cost home ownership homes. Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) has two principal products for low cost home ownership, Homebuy Direct, which is an equity share model and Newbuild Homebuy which is shared ownership with a housing association or other provider. In addition to existing programmes such as the National Affordable Housing Programme, the provision of these homes has been accelerated through the additional funding made available through the Building Britain’s Future initiative, notably Kickstart and the Local Authority Newbuild Programme.
Low cost home ownership is a valuable tool in securing a mix of tenures in sustainable communities, and in providing wider access to home ownership. HCA works very closely with local authorities and partners to determine the most appropriate and sustainable mix of tenures in a given location and actively encourages the provision of low cost home ownership choices.
75 units of Homebuy Direct have been completed in West Yorkshire, including 44 in Leeds local authority area. (HCA published half year performance statistics). In addition, outturn completions of low cost home ownership units delivered through the National Affordable Housing Programme 2008-09, was 313 units in West Yorkshire of which 110 were in Leeds.
Kickstart Round 1 allocated over £15 million to West Yorkshire subject to funding conditions. This includes £9 million allocated to four schemes in Leeds, and a further £6 million to one scheme in Kirklees and two in Wakefield. All but one of these schemes will include an element of Homebuy Direct or shared ownership.
Kickstart Round 2 has allocated in excess of £6 million to West Yorkshire with one scheme in Leeds and a further five schemes across West Yorkshire.