Move by Homes and Communities Agency is an attempt to meet housing targets by end of financial year

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), the UK’s housing and regeneration quango, will increase upfront grant payments for affordable housing from 60% to 75% so that the agency can be sure to meet housing targets by the end of the year.

In a statement, the HCA said the move would “allow partners to accelerate starts on site in the current financial year, maximising the pipeline supply in future years.”

HCA director of investment, Richard Hill, said the change was an example of the agency being “flexible and supportive” during the downturn.

“Increasing the number of affordable homes we start building this year will mean a smoother profile of delivery in future years, maximising the number of people with a new home at a rent they can afford or helped into home ownership in a sustainable way,” he said.

HCA grant payments are paid to investment partners in two tranches; currently 60% at the point of starting on site and 40% upon completion.

With effect from 1 December until the end of the 2009/10 financial year, the HCA will pay 75% at start on site and 25% upon completion, helping with the upfront costs of development and improving cash flow for partners.