Housing Corporation to offer developers larger upfront payments and buy unsold stock through national clearing house

Housing minister Caroline Flint has announced measures to increase confidence in the housebuilding industry, including a proposal that the Housing Corporation will be able to offer larger upfront payments to developers for affordable properties.

Housing minister - Caroline Flint

The measure is part of wider government action and will be announcing this month to boost the housing market damaged by the recent credit crunch.

The announcement means that the Housing Corporation will now have the option to offer more of the payment to housing associations and other developers delivering affordable and social housing at the start of schemes.

The government hopes this will improve providers' cash flow, encourage new starts and stimulate wider market activity.

Another proposal is for a national clearing house to be set up where housebuilders can approach the Housing Corporation to sell their unsold stock for affordable housing.

The new measure has been designed to enable funds to be invested more quickly by giving developers greater certainty and an early steer on their chances of success.

The government said the Housing Corporation, English Partnerships and the team setting up the Homes and Communities Agency are now working on further proposals to stimulate the market.

Flint said her objective is to put together a package of the best possible proposals: “That means providing more help for potential first time buyers, ensuring the delivery of affordable homes remains as high as possible and maintaining capacity so that house building increases as fast as possible when we begin the upturn.”

The government has committed £200m so far for affordable housing providers.

Flint said: “There is an overwhelming case for building more housing and we must remain as ambitious as possible. But we also have to be flexible and responsive enough to adapt to the current economic climate.”