The government has introduced its Housing and Planning Bill. The first reading of the Bill took place on 13 October 2015.
A new legal duty will be placed on councils to guarantee the provision of 200,000 ‘starter homes’ on all “reasonably sized” new development sites; these will be offered to first-time buyers at a 20% discount on “market prices”.
It also includes controversial plans to force housing associations to sell properties under the Right to Buy scheme and to make local authorities sell “high value” council houses in order to fund the building of the ‘starter homes’.
Mark Hayward, managing director of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), said: “The introduction of the Housing and Planning Bill today is a small, but important move that is needed to try and bring our housing market out of crisis. The introduction of 200,000 new ‘affordable’ starter homes is a step in the right direction for first time buyers, but still falls short of the amount of house building required to help buyers across the UK.
“Although the starter homes will offer a discount of 20% on market prices, this is still far from affordable in a market where house prices continue to shoot up on a daily basis – meaning that the majority of buyers wishing to take their first steps on the ladder will continue to feel pushed out.
“The Bill also includes the well-publicised extension of the Right to Buy to Housing Associations. We were pleased with the announcement made by the Communities Secretary, Greg Clark, earlier this week, who has said that the 1.3 million housing association homes made available for purchase under this scheme, will be replaced on a one-for-one basis, thus actually increasing supply in the housing market. However it is important that these replacement homes are built within the same local authority boundaries in urban areas where the original home was sold.
“The government cannot look at conurbations, such as London, as whole entities and must ensure that housing stock is retained and grown evenly across city regions.”