Mayor invests in more than a thousand ‘Pocket homes’ for first-time buyers

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today invested £25m as part of an innovative deal to boost new factory-built affordable one and two-bed homes for first-time buyers in the capital.

The Mayor’s investment in Pocket Living will see work start on at least 1,059 new homes by March 2021, with a third expected to be built off-site in a factory and dropped into place. They provide homes for first-time buyers, typically one or two-bed flats, that are sold at least 20 per cent cheaper than market sales. Pocket homes are aimed at local people who must already live in the borough and be first-time buyers. The deal also ensures all homes built remain affordable for the lifetime of the building.

The funding from the Mayor – all of which will be paid back in full by the end of the next decade – will help finance ongoing site purchases for development. It will enable Pocket to increase its rate of delivery of high-density flats on small brownfield sites to provide more new and genuinely affordable homes for Londoners. Pocket will also look to use off-site construction where appropriate to speed up delivery. The Mayor believes off-site construction is another valuable tool that should be utilised and encouraged further as part of a range of measures needed to tackle London’s housing crisis, because it means homes can be built more quickly.

The funding package is part of the Mayor’s Innovation Fund, using investment secured as part of Sadiq’s record-breaking £3.15bn deal with government in November last year.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:

“The housing crisis is the biggest challenge facing Londoners today and I have been honest from the start that we won’t be able to turn things round overnight. For decades, we have simply not built enough new and affordable homes in the capital, meaning that for too many Londoners the dream of buying their own home is getting further and further out of reach.”

“That is why I am working with Pocket Living to build more than a thousand homes for first-time buyers, using the latest off-site construction techniques to provide attractive and affordable homes as quickly as possible. I will continue to use more of my £3.15bn of funding to invest in innovative schemes like this to build the genuinely affordable homes Londoners need.”

Marc Vlessing, CEO of Pocket Living, said:

“Our mission has always been to open up the housing market to hard working young Londoners on low to middle incomes by delivering homes they can afford. This growing group is greatly in need of innovative housing solutions.”

“City Hall’s support for Pocket is yet another demonstration of the Mayor of London’s commitment to tackling the capital’s housing shortage and increasing the range of affordable housing options.”

“We are proud to receive the Mayor’s backing for Pocket Living’s award-winning approach to design and the use of modern methods of construction to help those priced-out and not eligible for social housing to get onto the property ladder. Delivering homes for Londoners means initiatives between the public and private sector are crucial for the capital to thrive in the years ahead.”

The investment will be used alongside £35m of funding from the Homes and Communities Agency to build homes on the first set of sites to come forward.

Homes and Communities Agency Chief Executive Nick Walkley said:

“This deal is an important contribution to much-needed affordable housing in London. By lending £33.5 million from the Government’s Home Building Fund, the Homes and Communities Agency is helping to unlock the construction of new homes, giving first-time buyers in London a real chance to get their foot on the housing ladder.”