Press Release: 29 November 2017
Housing Minister Alok Sharma backs affordable homeownership in visit to Pocket Living development
Yesterday the Housing Minister, Alok Sharma MP, visited an affordable Pocket Living development in Kennington to learn more about the company’s model for helping people into homeownership.
This landmark visit by the new Housing Minister follows the Prime Minister’s Downing Street summit last month with representatives from the housing and construction sector. It is a sign the Government is continuing its collaboration with the industry to deliver the homes this country needs.
All recent Housing Ministers have visited a Pocket apartment early in their tenure. Pocket Living’s CEO Marc Vlessing will show Mr Sharma around the 70 affordable apartment developments, Sail Street and Juxon Street SE11, and discuss Pocket Living’s innovative model, which has so far helped over 450 potential first time buyers into homeownership, and the company’s pioneering use of modular construction.
Marc Vlessing will also discuss with the Housing Minister the continued importance of homeownership for young people living in London and the development of policies to help deliver homes for permanently affordable homeownership, in addition to rental options.
Pocket Living is now the fastest growing homebuilder in London and builds well-designed, local and affordable homes for potential first-time buyers. Pocket Living’s business model is to build affordable housing, without public subsidy, sold outright to buyers at a discount to the local market of at least 20%. Buyers of Pocket homes have to live or work in the local area and own 100% of the property from day one.
The company is currently building seven sites across London and working with over half of the Capital’s boroughs.
Pocket Living is now one of the few SMEs delivering homes in London at a significant scale. It has delivered 450 homes in the last decade and recently received funding from the Greater London Authority, the Homes and Communities Agency and Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking that totals £150 million. With this funding Pocket plans to deliver 1,059 new home starts by March 2021. The funding from Lloyds Bank and the HCA will finance the construction of new Pocket homes, on land that the GLA’s loan has helped to unlock. This will allow Pocket Living to deliver the affordable homes that London desperately needs.
Pocket Living is also one of the foremost champions of off-site or ‘modular’ construction. Around 33% of the company’s current pipeline is delivered off-site and it aims to increase this significantly in the coming years. Modular homes are quicker to build and result in less disruption for existing residents. In Wandsworth, Pocket Living is currently constructing Europe’s tallest modular residential tower – Mapleton Crescent.
Commenting on the visit, Minister of State for Housing and Planning Alok Sharma MP, said:
“Our Home Building Fund provides support to builders using modern methods of construction alongside custom builders, and new entrants to the market - to help build the homes our country needs. The development I saw in Kennington by Pocket Living is a great example of what can be achieved.
“Building affordable homes is a priority for the government and we will continue to invest so that everyone can have the opportunity to afford a place to call their own.”
Pocket Living CEO Marc Vlessing said:
“Not a week passes without another report telling us the difficulties that hard-working young people are facing getting onto the property ladder in London. It is clear that the scale of the challenge facing the Government is stark and so I am pleased that the Minister is looking to Pocket Living as an example of what can be achieved by the private sector in the delivery of homeownership.
“The volume housebuilders alone will not solve the housing crisis. It will also fall to smaller, more innovative developers that are able to take advantage of smaller sites, modern methods of construction and innovative finance models to build the homes of the future.
“Ultimately we will need more well-built affordable housing of all tenures to help solve the housing crisis. However, homeownership remains an enduring dream for young people today. Policy makers need to work with industry to ensure that this dream remains a realistic one.