Council homes sold off almost three times as fast as new ones are built

Council homes are being sold off almost three times faster than local authorities can replace them, new analysis has revealed, with some local authorities selling 20 times the number of homes that were built in three years.

Analysis of figures from 72 councils who responded to freedom of information requests found the mass selloff has raised more than £930m from the sale of more than 12,000 council house since 2014. In those boroughs, just 4,309 houses were built in the same time.

When the government expanded right-to-buy in 2011, ministers said they were committed to “one for one replacement”. The Department for and Local Government pledged it would ensure “every home sold is replaced”. However, councils have consistently warned that they are unable to keep up with the loss of housing under right-to-buy.

London councils have sold homes in the highest numbers, given the demand for property in the capital. Kensington and Chelsea, the borough at the centre of the row over the Grenfell Tower fire, has built no new council houses since 2014 but has sold 46, netting the council more than £14.3m.

Tower Hamlets, which sold seven times as many council homes as were built over the three years, raised the most cash from the sales, just under £104m. “It takes time to find suitable building sites and procure the construction of new homes,” a spokesman said.

In Waltham Forest, 345 council houses were sold, but none have been built in the borough since 2014.

“All local authorities face a considerable challenge as a result of government policy that requires them to sell their housing stock while constraining their ability to invest in it,” a council spokesman said. “We fully support the Local Government Association’s campaign to ask government to look at this position again.”

Properties have sometimes sold for huge sums. In Wandsworth, 11 of the council houses sold at auction for over a million pounds each, though the capital raised is held for housing purposes such as new builds and estate regeneration.


Staff Favourites View more

Staff Favourites
When you or our staff find great progressive news articles, we post them here. Send along your personal favourite story links to: favourites (at) ukprogressive (dot) co (dot) uk and we may select it for publication.