Will ‘affordable’ homes be unaffordable to live in?

Affordable homes

Conservative-party proposals for 100 000 new starter homes to be exempt from the zero-carbon homes standard if the party is re-elected in 2015 have come in for criticism from the industry. The concept is that these homes would be available to first-time buyers at 20% below market value. Costs would be reduced by building them on brownfield sites and making these homes exempt from some Building Regulations and the Zero Carbon Homes standard.

Julia Evans, chief executive of BSRIA, said, ‘We welcome any move that will allow young hard-working people the chance to get onto the housing ladder, However, we have some concerns over the plan to make the new homes exempt from the Zero Carbon Homes standard.

‘We have an ambitious carbon-reduction targets to achieve, and building 100 000 new homes that don’t comply to the highest standard will do little to help this. We are also concerned that it sends out a mixed message on carbon-reduction policies.’

Mike Foster, chief executive of the Energy Utilities Alliance (EUA), said, ‘We welcome new homes being built, but we are very concerned about them being built on the cheap. Mr Cameron has said that these homes need to be affordable to purchase, but he has failed to recognise that without appropriate energy-efficiency measures they won’t be affordable to live in.

‘Over the last few years, we have seen the introduction of many Government policies aimed at improving ECO and the disastrous Green Deal, so this new policy sends the wrong message.

‘If we allow house builders to forget the regulations on these 100 000 homes, then why not forget them for all of the buildings we construct. Please think again, Mr Cameron.’

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