The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has begun a consultation on the design and delivery of its First Homes scheme. It considers the creation of the scheme and the options for its implementation. The proposals relate to England only.
The Government is said to be committed to making the dream of home ownership a reality for everyone. So that young people can have the same opportunities as their parents and grandparents to become a home owner, more properties of all types are being built.
First Homes aims to give people the opportunity to buy a “discounted home” in their “local area”, rather than being forced to look elsewhere due to rising prices. The definition of local people will be at the discretion of the local authority and can be based on either residency or work location.
The houses will be sold with a minimum discount of 30% off the market price. However, local authorities will have the flexibility to set a bigger discount on a site-by-site basis if the 30% level is insufficient to ensure that First Homes are affordable to local people, especially in areas where affordability is challenging.
This discount will also be preserved for new owners. When the current owner of a First Home scheme property decides to sell, the discount of at least 30% will be passed on to the new owner, following an independent valuation. This ensures the continuation of delivery of First Homes.
Priority will be given to first-time buyers and serving members and veterans of the Armed Forces. The ministry believes that local authorities should consider whether it is appropriate to use the First Homes scheme to include and prioritise key workers such as nurses, police and teachers. However, it is seeking views on the circumstances in which local authorities should allow non-first-time buyers to access First Homes on the same basis as first-time buyers.
The Government is also considering setting a household income cap for these homes, to provide guidance on eligibility to ensure they target the correct people.
The homes will be for people to live in, and as such the purchasers will be restricted to using them as their “sole or primary residence”. They will be unable to use them as holiday homes or for buy-to-let investments.
The consultation period closes on 3 April. You can have your say by completing an online survey via https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/first-homes.
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