Developers and housing associations have bid more than £1.7bn for the Housing Corporation’s £200m pilot programme to open up social housing grant to private sector bidders.

There were 60 bids for the programme, which is a rehearsal for a further bidding round this summer when the whole of the corporation’s £3.3bn programme for 2006/08 will be available to bids from housebuilders and developers.

Jon Rouse, the corporation’s chief executive, denied that he was disappointed that only 22 single bids had come from non-housing associations when announcing the results last Thursday.

“I was pretty comfortable with the balance. We always expected the mix would include more consortiums of housebuilders and associations.”

Of the 60 bids, 31 were from single bidders, 24 from consortiums and five were from special-purpose vehicles. There were no details of the total number of homes that had been bid for.

The scheme was pushed for last year by the government, which was keen to get more homes for its money. Rouse stressed that it was “far too early” to comment on whether or not this goal was likely to be achieved.

A shortlist of bidders for the £200m will be announced in May, and a final decision will be made in September.

Regeneration quango English Partnerships has said it has received more than 50 bids for its competition to build a £60,000 house. The deadline for bids was last Friday. In a statement, EP said that it had received bids from "a range of manufacturers, architects and housebuilders” but declined to release any further information.