INSUFFICIENT supply of rental homes to meet demand is currently a critical issue, underlines ‘Housing for our Future’ – the Falkland Islands Housing Strategy launched this week.

According to the Strategy the government will enable the delivery of new public and private sector affordable rental homes, by speeding up the pace, and investment in the construction of new FIG rental housing. They will do this by delivering 40 new units for FIG rental in Bennett’s Paddock over a period of approximately three years.

It includes a caution however: “By accelerating the pace of FIG housing construction, we can ensure that new, good quality, rental housing is offered at affordable rates.

“However, FIG housing alone will not be sufficient to meet demand. Improving the supply of housing overall is a key element of addressing affordability challenges. The available construction capacity in the Islands will remain a constraint on the pace of development.”

Good news for many is that the strategy also assures government will reserve 50% of all new FIG rental homes for the local pool, while there are eligible people on the waiting list for FIG housing.

The government intends to reduce the need (in the longer term) to provide rental housing outside of social housing provision. The document notes that one way to do this is to encourage the private sector to develop new rental housing, providing more affordable options.

“The main answer is we’re trying to increase supply; incentivize an increase in supply of rental houses – we know as supply goes up prices should start to moderate because there will be more competition in the marketplace. So we’re looking at sort of market driven supply and demand,” Director of Policy and Economic Development Andrew Gaule told Penguin News this week.

Various types of incentives will be considered including loan guarantees, tax incentives, or sale of serviced land at reduced cost.

FIG will also be actively encouraging private developers to bring forward construction on land where permission is already granted rather than letting them sit on their planning permission for many years.

Full story in this week’s Penguin News

Picture: New housing to be built at Bennett’s Paddock