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Andium considers opening affordable housing scheme to downsizers

11 February 2019

Jersey’s housing issues have been a continuing topic of discussion in recent years. However, the housing-needs survey published in late January brought the subject to the fore as it estimated that 7,000 new homes would be needed by 2030 (including 1,100 first-time buyer family homes). That survey also highlighted that there was a lack of incentive for property owners to downsize.

Previously the States and residential developers have focussed their affordable housing schemes on facilitating first-time buyers’ initial step onto the property ladder by building more affordable or subsidised homes. However, increasing land values in Jersey are making such schemes ever more difficult to achieve.

In what is likely to be a very well received move, Andium has said this week that it is looking into a more creative way around the short housing supply issue. The models they are considering include:

1. Opening the affordable housing gateway to offer properties to people who may want to downsize.

2. Introducing deferred payments or life-long leases, which would allow the release of equity stored in home owners' larger properties.

3. Addressing the incentives for the occupants of the older and larger housing stock to move when their rent (based on older rent policies) is likely to be relatively low.

Whilst an alternative approach to Jersey’s housing challenges will be welcomed by many, Andium will of course require minister approval to widen the gateway. The Housing Minister has not yet commented on the proposals, and we are therefore unlikely to see such policies rolled out imminently. Nonetheless, a scheme which helps to release more affordable housing in the island would be a major leap forward in managing Jersey’s mounting housing needs.

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