Property chiefs back ‘meanwhile housing’

Property heavyweights want a moveable housing solution dubbed ‘meanwhile housing’ to be recognised by the planning system in a bid to save tax-payer cash and help alleviate the housing crisis, according to a new report launched by Modomo, a company seeded by Round Hill Capital.

In London alone, ‘meanwhile housing’ could create 250,000 homes across an area equal to the size of Lambeth.

Meanwhile housing uses moveable, modular homes built in a factory that can be installed quickly on a short to medium term basis on vacant land, accommodating people who otherwise might have to seek temporary accommodation at an inflated cost to tax payers.

This could provide a real solution for those struggling to find affordable accommodation to have a home while reducing the impact of derelict space in creating an ‘urban blight’ effect on urban streetscapes, and potentially help house many of those in need across Britain.

Experts have said, in Modomo’s new report, that ‘meanwhile housing’ could become an institutional asset class like build-to-rent, while also helping accelerate the growth of large developments that can take years to complete.

This is because of the length of time it takes to sell houses and the critical mass required to support shops and schools.

Instead, a housing operator can be appointed by a landowner or local authority to provide modular housing units on a fixed-term contract, providing installation and placemaking for a site, before the units can be removed and relocated to another site in the pipeline after the start of permanent redevelopment.

The sheer number of people living in temporary accommodation, which reached over 90,000 UK households last year, means that whole communities could be created overnight.

Modomo, based in the UK and Netherlands, was set up by Round Hill Capital, as an ESG initiative. Round Hill recently agreed a €1 bn JV with Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP Investments) to build student housing across Europe.

Modomo has been heralded as a meaningful ESG solution from Round Hill. And just as student housing has become a billion dollar industry, so too could meanwhile housing with the right policy support.

Advisers to the meanwhile housing provider include modular housing architects ShedKM, the chief designers of Urban Splash’s factory-built homes, and planning consultants DP9.

Savills, YMCA and UK Green Building Council are calling on the newly-formed government to bake the concept of meanwhile housing into the planning system, so that developers of big sites are able to include it. Meanwhile housing could save local authorities tens of millions of pounds.

Kirk Lindstrom, CIO at Round Hill Capital, said: 'Modomo is at the very edge of innovation here. In five years, I hope Modomo and meanwhile housing have grown into a well-known investment and sector.'

‘We see issues with an unavailability of land, the affordability of building, and the time to complete especially within the context of the current planning system. Meanwhile housing can act as a force that disrupts this system and addresses some of these systemic issues.'

Richard Valentine-Selsey, director at Savills, says in the report: 'By unlocking and activating brownfield sites where there are difficulties in achieving full-scale redevelopment quickly, Modomo and other providers could make a very attractive offering to landowners and local authorities through an ability to deliver fifty or a hundred affordable homes rapidly and effectively.'


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