Four flats converted from a four-storey house in Queens Road, High Wycombe are a new enterprise for the not-for-profit charitable organisation which bought out Wycombe District Council’s entire housing stock in December 2011.

When the apartments on the Queens Place development – one property per floor - came on the market yesterday (Thursday) at rents between £850 and £950 a month, it was the first time Red Kite Community Housing has offered flats to let at the equivalent of what private tenants would be charged for a similar property on the open market.

The association’s chief executive Trevor Morrow says the newly introduced strategy will help pay for the association’s current development programme for social sector tenants from the council housing list.

Being non-profit making, proceeds from schemes such as this will be ploughed back into the general coffers.

“The money go towards the cost of building affordable homes and the maintenance of existing stock. The profit doesn’t line anyone’s pockets,” says the boss. “We don’t pay dividends to shareholders like a private company.”

Some of the homes built by Red Kite need a subsidy of £86,000 to enable them to be let at discounted rates, says Mr Morrow.

The rent generated by these properties would fall a long way short of their viability as a profitable financial proposition if they were being built by a private developer.

In government terms, “affordable” means up to 80 per cent of the market value. “Affordable rents” work out at 50-54 per cent of the rate charged by private landlords for an equivalent sized property.

“We are on course to build 500 homes in the next few years to provide affordable housing,” reports Trevor Morrow.

The latest need assessment produced for Wycombe Council revealed that homebuyers in this affluent area of Bucks need to have an annual household income of £90,000 to be able to buy their own place.

“To help fund our build programme, ten per cent of the properties will be for outright sale and another ten per cent will be available for the same rent you’d pay on the open market. The vast majority will be affordable homes,” promises the chief executive of Red Kite.

As well as deriving revenue from the small percentage of homes built for sale and to rent at open market prices, housing associations such as the Wycombe-based organisation can also count on proceeds from part-buy part-rent shared ownership schemes.

“We’ve already identified sites for 480 homes which are at various stages of being processed,” says the housing chief. “Some are under construction, some are going through planning and some have been rejected and we’re mounting an appeal.”

Red Kite’ s website states that geographically most of the new homes will be built in existing Red Kite communities. “Any homes we decide to develop which arise outside Wycombe district will never be more than 30 minutes’ drive from the centre of Wycombe of our current offices [on the Kingsmead Business Park at Loudwater].

The housing boss says the first homes to be built since the new strategy was introduced will be those for the open market.

“While our focus is to provide rented homes at less than 80 per cent of market rent, we need to subsidise the construction of those homes, therefore local people will likely see that market rent and outright sale homes will be the first to be approved.”