Affordable housing

Affordable housing is housing that is appropriate for the needs of a range of very low to moderate income households and priced so that these households are also able to meet other basic living costs such as food, clothing, transport, medical care and education.

There is another way of looking at affordability, though, and that’s to look at the legal definition. Under this definition, what gets called Affordable Housing (with a capital A and H) doesn’t directly take into account what the person occupying the home can actually afford to pay, given their income and dependents.

Instead, it focuses on what type (or tenure) the home is. It basically defines Affordable Housing as any home that is not private market housing, i.e. not a home bought privately or a home that’s rented from a private landlord.

There are lots of schemes included under this definition. They include:

  • Social rented housing – low rent, secure housing prioritized by need.
  • Affordable Rent housing – higher rent, less secure housing prioritized by need.
  • Shared ownership – housing that you buy part of and rent part of
  • Intermediate Rent homes – 80% market rate housing


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