Planning Portal

Belfast HMO Subject Plan 2015
Housing Need Context: Housing Choice

Students, young singles and migrant workers tend to be more transient than other groups. The private rented sector has been meeting their requirements by providing furnished accommodation with minimal initial capital outlay.
Increases in house prices during the last few years put owner occupation beyond the means of many new households, despite relatively low interest rates. One means of securing a first stake in the property market is to share the cost of purchase with others or buy, sub-let and then charge rent to help fund the mortgage repayments. This trend is more common among young professionals. However, it has the potential to give rise to intensification in streets and neighbourhoods comprised of traditional terraced housing.
The opportunity to rent social housing from either the NIHE or a Housing Association is limited given the reduction in stock as a consequence of house sales and the cost of acquiring new sites. Housing Associations are the principle providers of new social housing. During recent years, many of the Associations experienced a greater difficulty in identifying suitable sites for development. Prior to the recent downturn in land prices, competition for site acquisitions increased and Housing Associations frequently found themselves priced out of the market.
Private renting of former NIHE stock purchased under the “right to buy scheme” is making a valuable contribution to the low cost affordable market.
Summary
Belfast is likely to have ongoing need for low cost affordable housing. The demand for HMO accommodation is likely to be sustained as a consequence of changing patterns of household formation. However, the signs are that the market for student accommodation may have peaked.
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