Discount boost for new homebuyers
Prime Minister David Cameron will today launch a scheme offering 100,000 first-time buyers new homes with a 20% discount as part of the Government's drive to help people onto the housing ladder.
Under-40s who have never owned a property before can register their interest in buying via the Starter Home initiative from the beginning of next year - six months earlier than planned.
A change to the planning system will mean under-used or unviable brownfield land is freed from certain costs in return for a below market value sale price on the homes built on the site.
Developers and councils are being asked to respond to the proposals to ensure the changes will unlock a range of sites across the country.
Mr Cameron said: "Hard-working young people want to plan for the future and enjoy the security of being able to own their own home. I want to help them do just that.
"Under this scheme, first-time buyers will be offered the chance of a 20% discount, unlocking home ownership for a generation.
"This is all part of our long-term economic plan to secure a better future for Britain, making sure we are backing those who work hard and get on in life."
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles added: " The 2008 housing crash blocked millions of hard-working, creditworthy people from becoming home-owners, at a time in their lives when they should have been able to expect to get on the property ladder.
"We're turning that around with Help to Buy, but today's new Starter Homes scheme will offer a further boost, giving young people (under 40) the opportunity to buy low-cost, high-quality new homes for significantly less than they would normally expect."
Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the Home Builders Federation, described the initiative as "another positive step" towards tackling the housing shortage.
He went on: "The industry is keen to work with government to develop policies that would allow for more high-quality homes to be built in the right places."
Builders can currently face an average bill of £15,000 per home in Section 106 affordable housing contributions and tariffs.
But under the proposals, developers offering Starter Homes would be exempt from certain charges. The homes could then not be re-sold at market value for a fixed period to ensure the savings are passed onto buyers.
More than 30 house builders have said they support the plans and would consider bringing forward land to develop the discounted houses from next year.
A design panel, including world-renowned architect Sir Terry Farrell, will be established to ensure the new homes are not only lower cost but also high-quality.
Sir Terry said the panel had the potential to make a real difference and would build on the recommendations of the Farrell Review, which highlighted the need for more proactive planning.
He went on: "Only by planning and designing our villages, towns and cities together with local communities can we create the kind of built environment we all aspire to and should be demanding."
Shadow Housing Minister Emma Reynolds said no-one would believe Mr Cameron's promises on housing and home ownership.
The Labour MP added: "He said he would get Britain building but instead he has presided over the lowest levels of house building in peacetime since the 1920s.
"He said he would boost home ownership but instead it's fallen to its lowest levels in 30 years.
"He said he would help the next generation onto the property ladder but instead one in four young people are living at home with their parents in their 20s and 30s.
"The only way to restore the dream of home ownership is to build more homes and Labour has a plan to get at least 200,000 homes built a year by 2020.
"We are in favour of building starter homes but it is not clear how the Government is going to deliver these homes 20% cheaper than market price."