Press release

Press Release: 20 April 2016

Factory-built affordable homes coming to Streatham estate to tackle housing crisis

Affordable homes built entirely in a factory are being installed on the Mountearl Gardens estate in an effort to help local first time buyers onto the property ladder.

Innovative affordable housing developer Pocket is placing 32 affordable homes, built at a factory in Bedford, on disused garages on the estate. The new one-bedroom flats for sale are just ten minutes from Streatham Hill station and will be prioritised for first time buyers who live or work in Lambeth. They are available exclusively to those on middle-incomes who are priced out of the property market and salaried out of social housing.

The scheme, due to be completed later in the year, is Pocket’s latest venture in the borough and will be available to buyers next month. It is the first time Pocket is using factory built homes to deliver affordable homes and means there is significantly less disruption to local residents -  60% fewer trucks coming to site and 90% less waste. It will also open up many more sites for Pocket especially on existing housing estates and allow them to be delivered quicker. As a result, Pocket is planning to deliver over 100 new homes across Lambeth in the next year on sites in Lambeth North and Brixton.

Designed for singles and couples in the intermediate market, Pocket flats are sold outright at a price that is at least 20% cheaper than the average home in the same area. Demand for the flats is likely to be high. There were seven potential buyers for every flat recently released at the Pocket flats in Brixton. Pocket is working closely with Lambeth Council to find innovative ways of helping local people to own their home.

Pocket homes make a real addition to London’s affordable housing stock as the next buyer must also meet the same income eligibility criteria.  One of Pocket's most striking distinctions is that buyers own 100% of their home which differs from more complicated shared equity schemes.

With the help of Lambeth Council, Pocket is able to deliver the Streatham site by utilising part of the £26.4 million loan it received from the Mayor of London’s Housing Covenant, which aims to help thousands of working Londoners into home ownership. Pocket’s loan runs for 10 years and all profits will be reinvested in the borough throughout this period. This public sector investment will work hand in hand with private investment from Lloyds Bank to finance many more schemes over the coming years. As a result Pocket is on track to deliver 4,000 homes by 2023. Pocket is also able to draw on the experience and resources of Related Companies, the U.S.’s largest affordable developer of affordable housing, who recently made a strategic investment in Pocket.

Yesterday Marc Vlessing, CEO of Pocket, showed Cllr Matthew Bennett, the Cabinet Member for Housing in Lambeth around the housing modules being placed on site. Afterwards Marc said:

“Pocket is always looking for new and innovative ways to help house London’s first time buyers. What we are doing at Mountearl Gardens is hugely exciting as it will significantly speed up the delivery of affordable homes for local people, whilst at the same time reducing the disruption to local residents. We are incredibly grateful for the ongoing support of Lambeth Council whose commitment to working with Pocket will help local people stay in their communities.”

A Lambeth council spokesperson said:

“Because priority is given to people living and working in Lambeth, local people will have a real opportunity to buy a home of their own at a price that they can afford.  We are proud to be working with Pocket to deliver 127 genuinely affordable homes for first time buyers in the borough, and importantly, these homes will remain below market price and affordable to local people in the long term.”


Photographs of the units being installed and a CGI of the completed scheme are available here:

For more information or for interviews with Marc Vlessing, CEO of Pocket, please contact Victor Chamberlain on 07977 240 568 or

Notes to Editors

About Pocket:

  • The site at Mountearl Gardens, SW16 includes 32 Pocket units (including three 2-bedroom units).
  • Pocket’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%.
  • The company works closely with local councils and communities to develop smaller infill sites on brownfield land where a market developer would normally not provide much, if any, affordable housing.
  • All Pocket buyers are singles and couples, and their current average household income is around £40,000.
  • To ensure these homes reach the people they're intended for, each year the Mayor sets the maximum household income for eligible buyers and the maximum price of a flat. Buy-to-let investors are excluded, and Pocket leases ensure that on resale the homes remain affordable as they can only be sold to eligible buyers.
  • Buyers of Pocket homes own 100% of the property from day one, so they have no extra rent to pay and no uncertainty.
  • For more information please visit