Five hundred homes could be bought up by the council to boost the borough’s supply of affordable housing.

The properties – ranging from one to four bedrooms in size – would be let out by the council’s housing arm, Barnet Homes.

It comes as growing numbers of people are being housed in high-cost temporary accommodation after becoming homeless.

In Barnet, the number of households in this type of housing has risen by 19 per cent since 2012.

The 500 homes would be bought up “in Greater London and other areas within a 50-mile radius” at a cost of £163 million.

A business case drawn up by Barnet Homes says the money would be recouped over a 50-year period as property values increase.

At a meeting of the assets, regeneration and growth committee on Monday (September 16), the plan was broadly welcomed by Labour councillors.

But they urged the council to ensure the homes are as close as possible to Barnet to avoid breaking up families and communities.

Cllr Ross Houston (Labour), West Finchley, said: “This is very much the type of programme we have long advocated. We would like to see far more acquisitions in the borough.

“It is good to see investment in bricks and mortar. Bricks and mortar investment is far more beneficial than money in rent.”

Cllr Kath McGuirk (Labour), West Finchley, added: “Greater London is really big. Havering is some distance from Barnet, so even though it is Greater London, the travel from there – it is a long journey and very costly.

“It would be nice to se the details of where these properties are.”

The committee agreed to delegate the final decision to buy the homes to the council’s deputy chief executive, Cath Shaw.

The first units are expected to be purchased in October.