Press Release: 07 February 2019
Housing Minister backs modern methods of construction to tackle housing crisis in visit to Pocket affordable housing development
Today (07 February 2019) the Housing, Communities and Local Government, Kit Malthouse MP, visited a Pocket Living modular affordable development in Lambeth. He learnt how the company is utilising modular construction to deliver affordable homes in London much more quickly.
Pocket Living is the fastest growing affordable housing developer in London. All recent Housing Ministers have arranged visits to see a Pocket home early in their tenure. Pocket Living’s CEO Marc Vlessing showed Mr Malthouse around the development that includes 70 affordable homes on the edge of the China Walk estate and took the opportunity to discuss Pocket Living’s innovative model, which has helped nearly a thousand aspiring first time buyers into homeownership.
One of the leading champions of off-site construction, Pocket Living recently completed Mapleton Crescent SW18, which was Europe’s largest residential modular tower when completed. Around half the company’s current pipeline is being delivered off-site and it aims to increase this significantly in the coming years. Modular homes are significantly quicker to build and result in less disruption for existing residents but are designed to the same codes and high standards as conventionally built developments.
Pocket Living build well-designed, affordable homes for local first-time buyers. Its 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 homes stay affordable in perpetuity and they are always restricted to first-time buyers living or working in the local borough who are eligible for affordable housing (as defined by the Mayor of London). This model allows city makers, London’s hard-working young people on moderate incomes, a route into homeownership. Pocket homes are above national and London standards and provide an open-plan kitchen/living room, separate king size bedroom, hallway, wet room and ample storage space.
Pocket Living is now one of the few SMEs delivering homes in London at a significant scale, having agreed a £150 million finance agreement in November 2017 with Homes England, the Mayor of London, and Lloyds Bank. This groundbreaking collaboration between public and private sector will see Pocket Living start at least 1059 affordable homes by March 2021 – principally on small to medium sized public land sites.
Kit Malthouse MP, Minister for Housing, Communities and Local Government said:
“It was fascinating to visit this Pocket Living development, which is doing something extraordinary delivering lovely affordable homes in the centre of London for a demographic that would never dream of ownership in this kind of location if it wasn’t for them. I applaud their efforts and hope to see them expand in the future.”
Pocket Living CEO Marc Vlessing said:
“We are delighted that the Housing Minister is showing a keen interest in what we’re doing and that he shares our vision for taking innovative approaches to disrupt the housing crisis. By pioneering innovative techniques, such as modular construction, Pocket is ensuring this dream of homeownership is not out of reach young middle income Londoners.”
“We aspire to lead the way in the housing sector using modular construction – delivering homes faster, reducing disruption to local communities and increasing the genuinely affordable housing provided. Policy makers need to continue to work with the industry to help scale up modern methods of construction and ensure homeownership is a realistic dream for even more citymakers.”
Notes to editors
About Pocket Living
- Pocket Living is a company that sells well-designed, local and affordable homes so the people who make a city tick, can also make it their home.
- The company was founded 13 years ago by Marc Vlessing and Paul Harbard to inject a dose of innovation into a failing housing market.
- Pocket Living is a high-profile national and London-wide campaigner for more affordable housing in the capital.
- Pocket apartments are for the millions of young, middle-earning people who contribute to London’s economic and cultural success but can't afford to buy their first home.
- Pocket Living offers two brands to help tackle this issue:
- Pocket, an award-winning discounted one-bedroom home for the millions of young, middle-earning people who can't afford to buy their first home.
- Pocket Edition, a limited-edition range of open-market two to three-bedroom apartments.
- Pocket is Pocket Living’s primary offer, an affordable home designed for first time buyers.
- 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%.
- Buyers of Pocket homes have to live or work in the local area and own 100% of the property from day one.
- Buy-to-let investors are excluded and Pocket leases ensure the homes remain affordable in perpetuity.
- Pocket owners also have to prove that they are resident in their homes every year to check that they are not sub-letting.
- 90% of Pocket buyers purchase their apartment on their own, their current average household income is £42,000 and their average age is 32.
- 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.
- For more information please visit https://www.pocketliving.com/
- A video showcasing Pocket’s use of modern methods of construction is available here: https://vimeo.com/177203603