Renewed support for direct housing provision by local authorities has been gaining a new momentum in policy and academic circles on the early years of this century. In the rural context, having a wider variety of mechanisms available is crucial not only in attempting to lever a higher rate of non-market housing into communities but also in providing alternative means of overcoming the inherent difficulties of developing affordable housing in such localities. Despite post-1990s' policy exhorting a range of social rented and intermediate options in developments, such intermediate housing products seemed to have a very limited presence in smaller settlements. Moreover, a narrow focus on home ownership in national policies barely extended feasible and practical housing options for people on lower incomes in rural localities. In addition, falling prices do not necessarily ease affordability problems. This chapter discusses the issue of housing affordability and the net need for low-cost housing in order to provide a context for the discussion on the role of social rented accommodation in rural localities. It focuses on social renting which has and continues to play a crucial role for groups with low incomes.
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