London looks to the sky for affordable housing

Penthouse apartments are often associated with high-end buildings and sky-high prices. But a new wave of more affordable homes could be on the way in London after the city's mayor agreed a £10 million investment in airspace properties.

Sadiq Khan gave the thumbs up to development loan funding for Apex Airspace to become the first airspace developer for new affordable housing in the capital.

Partnerships expected

Apex is now expected to go into partnership with councils, housing associations and private freeholders to create new living space on top of existing properties.

All of these homes would be affordable.

Pilot schemes in Camden and West Hampstead have involved installing new homes that have been constructed offsite in factories. When they arrive on site, they are 95 percent complete and are craned on to the roofs and then fully complete.

Innovative approach

James Murray, deputy mayor for housing and residential development, said: "London's housing crisis has been decades in the making, and we need to use every possible opportunity to build more council, social rented and other genuinely affordable homes.

"Our £10 million loan will help Apex work with councils and housing associations to use their innovative approach of building on existing rooftops so we can create more of the new genuinely affordable homes Londoners so desperately need."

Potential for 180k homes

Arshad Bhatti, chief executive of Apex Airspace, said the firm's research had revealed potential for up to 180,000 properties in London alone, utilising the unused spaces above residential, commercial and public buildings.

He said: "With a robust pipeline, this £10 million funding will help deliver much-needed new homes to people across the capital, who suffer at the hands of a lack of affordability, a lack of choice and longer commutes."