I thought you might be interested in this article from this week's Inside Housing. "The development of affordable rented housing is likely to decrease as private house builders seize on David Cameron’s new planning flexibility to build homes for sale. The prime minister announced builders will be allowed to provide Starter Homes instead of traditional affordable housing on private sites to satisfy Section 106 planning requirements. These homes – sold at a 20% discount on the market rate – would be sold directly by the developer, with no need for housing association involvement. Housing associations typically pay in the region of £65,000 to buy an affordable Section 106 unit from a developer – a figure easily dwarfed by the profit from a Starter Home. Around 40% of new homes built by associations last year came through Section 106 deals. A director at a major house builder, who preferred not to be named, said the policy change would “definitely mean an increase” in Starter Homes being built instead of affordable rented units under Section 106 deals. The Home Builders Federation welcomed the policy. Jonathan Higgs, chief executive of Raven Housing and vice chair of the Placeshapers group of more than 100 housing associations, said: “Traditionally our programmes have drawn very heavily from [Section 106]. “Going forward housing associations will increasingly have to take the lead developer role and compete for development sites on the open market – which is of course going to be more difficult.” The reform follows the four-year 1% rent cut, announced in the July Budget, which had already seen housing associations reduce development plans and deliver more homes for sale rather than rent. Matt Cooney, chief executive of Asra, added: “There are always going to be people who can’t, even with help that the state is giving, afford to get on the housing ladder. “It is only going to make life harder for housing associations… You are taking away one of the fundamental planks of the affordable housing delivery programme.” Ian Munro, chief executive of New Charter, said: “We still want to provide affordable rented housing. We will use our own resources to do it, which will mean we will build fewer.” Under the changes, councils would be unable to insist developers provide affordable rented units or shared ownership in Section 106 deals. Mr Higgs added: “It would be a shame if local authorities were no longer able to decide how best to meet the housing need in their local area.” According to research by property consultancy Savills, seen exclusively by Inside Housing, a couple on a median income would struggle to afford a Starter Home in 48% of local authority areas – including the vast majority of southern England. Terrie Alafat, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing, said: “What about people on lower incomes who can’t afford to buy, even with a 20% discount?” Philip Glanville, cabinet member for housing at Hackney Council, added: “Ultimately, it will push more homeless families into the hands of private landlords and push up the benefit bill.” Nice to know we're still all in it together, ain't it?