First housebuilder takes up government offer to part-fund transfer of unsold homes to public sector

Bloor Homes has become the first housebuilder to take advantage of the government's offer of £200m to help buy up unsold private homes and turn them in to affordable housing.

The government, via the Housing Corporation, donated £13m to fund a deal whereby housing association Sanctuary has bought 335 affordable homes from the builder.

The deal, which involves 19 sites across the country, could be expanded to include another 700 homes ultimately. The Housing Corporation said it is in the process of concluding deals using £70m of public money to turn more than 2,000 unsold units into affordable homes.

Ken Allen, head of affordable housing at Bloor Homes Group, said he is delighted with the relationship formed with the Housing Corporation and Sanctuary Group. “We have been most impressed with the speed of decision making and the approval process of all parties,” he said.

However, news of the deal follows scepticism from housing associations about the government's plan to buy up unsold private sector homes. Private homes do not conform to standards expected of public sector homes, and many associations are not in a financial position to take on more homes at present.