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Local first-time buyers to get 30 per cent discount

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Written by: John Fitzsimons
19/12/2019
A new starter home scheme has been proposed by the Government, in which buyers would receive a discount from the price of their first home
Local first-time buyers to get 30 per cent discount

The Queen’s Speech, outlining the government’s legislative plans for the coming parliament, includes a host of measures aimed at the housing market.

These include plans to hold a consultation on a first homes scheme, with properties for local people and key workers available at a discount of at least 30 per cent.

This discount will be secured through a covenant, which the government says “means these homes will remain discounted in perpetuity”. Councils will be able to use the contributions from housing developers in order to discount the homes for people who cannot otherwise afford to buy in the area.

In addition, it will renew the affordable homes programme, aimed at building hundreds of thousands of new homes at affordable rates.

Alongside this, the government will be introducing a reformed shared ownership model. It said: “This new model will be simpler to understand and better able shared owners to buy more of their property and eventually reach full ownership.”

A planning white paper will be published, setting out how it hopes to deliver a million new homes in the life of this parliament.

The government explained: “The planning white paper will make the planning process clearer, more accessible and more certain for all users, including homeowners and small businesses. It will also address resourcing and performance in planning departments.”

Tackling leasehold

The government is also taking aim at the leasehold market, working alongside the Law Commission to make it easier to buy a freehold or extend a leasehold, as well as intending to “reinvigorate” commonhold and right to manage.

It said: “The government will ensure that if a new home can be sold as freehold, then it will be. We will get rid of unnecessary ground rents on new leases and give new rights to homeowners to challenge unfair charges. The government will also close legal loopholes to prevent unfair evictions and make it faster and cheaper to sell a leasehold home.”

A £10bn single housing infrastructure fund is to be established, to provide the roads and schools needed to support new homes, which “will ensure local people truly benefit from house building in their area and build support for new developments”.

The Queen’s Speech documents include measures to improve the rental market too.

It said: “The government will build a rental system that is fit for the modern day – supporting landlords to provide high quality homes while protecting tenants. The government’s Better Deal for Renters will fulfil our manifesto commitments to abolish ‘no fault’ evictions and to introduce lifetime deposits, alongside further reforms to strengthen the sector for years to come.”

A Building Safety Bill will also be introduced, which will provide clearer accountability for ‒ and stronger duties on ‒ those responsible for the safety of high-rise buildings, as well as strengthen sanctions for those who do not comply with the new regime.

Further legislation will force developers of new build homes to belong to a New Home Ombudsman.
Robert Jenrick, the housing secretary, said the announcements made in the speech would “empower both homebuyers and renters”.

Avoiding unintended consequences

Mark Hayward, chief executive of NAEA Propertymark, said the market remains tricky for first-time buyers, so all measures which support them in purchasing a home are welcome.

He continued: “The way this will be implemented is important to consider in order to avoid any unintended consequences; however, extending home ownership to a greater number of people in principle should be welcomed.”

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