Government pledges fresh planning changes to help first-time home buyers

The housing secretary has said that in the coming months he will be "reforming the planning system to increase housing delivery", as the government announced that it is exploring how planning changes can "help bring forward additional sites for homes that local aspiring first-time buyers can afford to buy".

New shared ownership model could help first-time buyers
New shared ownership model could help first-time buyers

A "discussion paper", published today, says the government is proposing "a new national model for shared ownership to help aspiring first-time buyers."

A statement from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) said that, whereas currently homebuyers following the shared ownership route can only increase their equity in chunks of 10 per cent — so called ‘staircasing’ — the government wants to cut this to one per cent.

The discussion document says the government also wants "to look at all of the ways to support the delivery of more homes, including how the planning system could help bring forward additional sites for homes that local aspiring first-time buyers can afford to buy".

The document says "this already happens with homes provided for shared ownership or for sale at a discount of at least 20 per cent for local first-time buyers". It adds that this "could provide a foundation to build on, exploring how to most effectively deliver these homes at a greater scale to ensure communities benefit now and that these homes continue to be affordable for future generations".

The document says the government "will set out further details soon".

Writing in today’s Times, housing secretary Robert Jenrick says he wants "communities to feel that new housing brings real benefits to local people".

"What a difference it might make to the planning system if existing residents knew that a good proportion of new homes would be sold at discounted prices to people from that area trying to get on a foot on the ladder," he says.

The minister adds that the move is "just the start — a downpayment".

"In the months to come I will also be looking at unlocking brownfield land, increasing housing in town centres and reforming the planning system to increase housing delivery."

Commenting in the MHCLG statement, Jenrick added that he would be "looking at ensuring young people from Cornwall to Cumbria aren’t priced out of their home areas and how we can build public support for more house building and better planning."

In July, Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised to "review" planning regulations to tackle the housing crisis. 


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