Princess Anne pops into Hackney to see how ‘pocket’ flats help London’s housing crisis
- Credit: Archant
Princess Anne popped down to Hackney today to look at low-cost starter homes and find out more about tackling London’s housing crisis. She spent the morning talking to first-time buyers at a new ‘Pocket’ housing complex by Hackney Downs who had previously found themselves priced out of the property market — but earning too much for council social housing.
The Princess Royal joined Hackney Council’s housing member Philip Glanville on the visit to see 28 one-bedroom apartments at Marcon Place for moderate-income earners which are sold at a 30 per cent discount below the local property market rate.
“This development is for those on low and middle incomes able to buy a home of their own,” Cllr Glanville explained.
“We need more homes of all tenures to keep Hackney a place where people of all backgrounds live and work together amid the housing crisis.”
The properties are a permanent addition to east London’s ‘affordable’ housing stock because the next buyer must also meet the same criteria, so they remain at the low-cost end of the market in perpetuity, the Princess was told. The buyers own 100 per cent of their home, unlike more complicated shared equity schemes.
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The apartments—or ‘Pocket flats’—are designed to optimise space and light, with floor to ceiling windows which give a spacious feeling, while the layout gives good-sized rooms. Each block usually has 20 to 50 flats, with shared communal space to help build close-knit communities.
First-time buyers moved this summer into Marcon Place, Hackney’s first ‘Pocket’ development of 28 one-bedroom flats, with a second development planned for the New Year.
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The Pocket company works with local authorities to develop smaller ‘in fill’ sites where a commercial developer would normally not provide much low-cost housing.
All its buyers are singles and couples with average household income around £40,000. The Mayor sets the maximum household income each year for eligible buyers and the maximum price of a flat.
Buy-to-let investors are excluded. The leases make sure the flats remain affordable on resale as they can only be sold to eligible buyers.