The Government wants to give more people the opportunity to buy their own home. In 2013, the Government introduced the Help to Buy mortgage guarantee and equity loans schemes to help first time buyers. Right to Buy has been enhanced and in the Autumn Statement, the Chancellor announced the most far reaching reform of stamp duty for a generation to cut the costs of purchasing a home.
The challenges facing first time buyers in many areas of the country still remain significant: the average house price in England was £285,000 in September 2014, up from £193,000 in March 2009 when the recession was at its worst, while average wage increases have not kept pace. Consequently, the Prime Minister announced the Starter Homes scheme on 15 December to do more to help first time buyers. This reform aims to free up the planning system to help to deliver more low cost, high quality starter homes for first time buyers without burdening the tax payer.
The Government is proposing to:
- Introduce a new national Starter Homes exceptions site planning policy to enable starter homes to be built on under-used or unviable brownfield sites not currently identified for housing on public and private land;
- Ensure through either planning obligations or conditions that these newly built starter homes are only available to buy or occupy for young first time buyers and are sold at a minimum 20% discount below open market value;
- Remove the obligations on developers to fund section 106 affordable housing contributions, including any tariff-based contributions to general infrastructure pots, and exempt the Community Infrastructure Levy on Starter Homes to enable them to help deliver this discounted price;
- Champion the good design of Starter Homes through the creation of a Design Panel;
- Develop a register of first time buyers’ interest in Starter Homes with the private sector to identify and stimulate demand; and
- Identify a cohort of vanguards to roll out the Starter Homes model across the country on both public and private land.
This is an ambitious package and the Government would need to work closely with developers, local authorities and land owners in order to enable 100,000 starter homes to be built over the next five years.
Date: 17/12/2014 Date of publication
DCP link: This item updates DCP section 7.1383