Policies are being drawn up to encourage islanders to move into 'right-size' homes in a bid to increase the availability of family homes.
Support for 'right-sizing' is one of a list of measures put forward by the new Minister for Housing and Communities, Deputy Russell Labey, in his 'Creating Better Homes' report, which is published this morning.
He also proposes tighter controls on foreign 'buy-to-let' investors, a fair rents policy, and 1,000 new 'affordable' homes by 2025.
In the foreword, the Minister writes that helping older home-owners 'right size' into a new home, would release more “family units” to the market.
Pictured: Deputy Russell Labey was elected Minister for Housing and Communities in February.
People over 65 currently represent up to 17% of Jersey’s population but account for about a third of all homeowners, and live in a quarter of the homes in the island according to the report.
The Draft Bridging Island Plan published earlier this year, already proposed allocating a proportion of ‘right-sizing’ homes - principally two-bedroom apartments - on sites zoned for affordable housing.
The Housing Minister’s report indicates that discussions are already underway with the Minister for Environment, Deputy John Young, the Parish and Andium to develop a policy framework that would support this.
Incentives and support packages are currently being developed to encourage those who “under-occupy” large homes to move into smaller ones.
A new policy is also being developed to accommodate ‘right-sizing’ within the Housing Gateway, with clear eligibility criteria and application processes.
Pictured: In Singapore, seniors receive over £14,000 to move into smaller homes.
The report cites the example of Singapore’s Housing Development Board (HDB) which created a ‘Silver Housing Bonus’ as part of which seniors receive a $20,000 (£14,169) cash bonus for 'right-sizing' from a larger apartment to a smaller one.
The HDB also offers 'flexible' flats designed to suit various household types and promote the cohabitation of different generations, either in the same flat or estate.
Grants are also available to fund the costs of making homes more accessible as well as for those buying a home within 4km of their family.
“These innovative housing forms provide attractive, flexible, and high-quality living environments at medium-high densities and encourage ‘right-sizing’. Similar density of development in Jersey could reduce the pressure on greenfield land,” the report notes.
“Financial incentives provide further encouragement. Similar models to release equity and enable purchase below market value could be enacted by Government of Jersey.
“The opportunities provided for co-living and inter-generational mixing help to build stronger communities and result in improved health and well-being outcomes, subsequently reducing the need for additional state support for elderly residents.”
The Housing Minister also expressed his intention to provide more support to those wishing to own a home.
This will include two phases, starting with a review into the affordable purchase products currently available as well as alternatives approaches to be completed by the end of the year. In the second phase, up to £10 million will be invested to support the delivery of affordable purchase support in Jersey.
A separate piece of work will also review the commercial mortgage products available to islanders.
Pictured: New share transfers could be banned from the end of next year.
The Minister has also pledged to ban developers from creating new share transfer dwelling units by the end of next year.
To help with the supply of new homes, the Minister said the number of houses starting construction every year, which is 400, should increase by 80%, with 1,000 new affordable homes available by 2025.
He has also pledged to work the Minister for Infrastructure, Deputy Kevin Lewis, and the Minister for the Environment, Deputy John Young, to develop a “long-term pipeline of land release” by the end of the year.
He said a number of Government-owned sites – the Ambulance Station, the Limes, Le Bas, St. Saviour’s Hospital, Westaway Court and La Motte Street offices – are currently being reviewed for such release.
Pictured: the full list of actions and timeframes in the report.
The publication of Deputy Labey's report comes just days before the States Assembly is due to debate a proposition from his predecessor, Senator Sam Mézec. The proposals include making all tenancies open-ended, banning rent increases above the inflation rate, cutting social housing rents to 80% of the market rate and setting up a Rent Tribunal, all based on the recommendations from the Housing Policy Development Board.
Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.
Once your comment has been submitted, it won’t appear immediately. There is no need to submit it more than once. Comments are published at the discretion of Bailiwick Publishing, and will include your username.