With news that Swindon Borough Council are set to build 149 affordable homes on land alongside Queens Drive, assuming permission is granted by the Cabinet next week, questions have been raised about what exactly is affordable housing?

In January 2016, then Prime Minister David Cameron promised the government would contribute towards the building of new affordable homes pledging £1.2bn over the following five years to build starter homes.

But what exactly is meant by affordable?

The government’s definition when it comes to renting is easy to understand. Affordable homes should cost no more than 80% of the average local market rent.

When it comes to home ownership, it is not quite so clear.

In August 2007 the Strategic Housing Market Assessments recommended 25% of gross income as the figure for what was affordable.

The government definition of affordable housing published in 2012 states ‘a property must be provided at a level at which the mortgage payments on the property should be more than would be paid in rent on council housing, but below market levels.

It must also be able to remain at an affordable price for future eligible households.’

Back in 2016, housing charity Shelter came up with their own definition of ‘affordable housing’ stating the rent or mortgage payments should cost no more than 35% of your household income after tax and benefits.

Whichever calculation Swindon Borough Council use to decide on the affordable housing status will no doubt please some and not others but news that there will be another 149 homes available for those less well off to purchase should be applauded.



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