Press release

Brandon Lewis: We are turning around the housing market

New figures show a turn around in more than a decade-long decline in home ownership.

couple moving into house
  • new figures show a turn around in more than a decade-long decline in home ownership
  • government is supporting social housing tenants to achieve their dream of home ownership

Figures released today have shown the success of government initiatives to give hard-working families across the country the chance to realise their ambition of home ownership.

New figures show that more than a decade-long decline, starting in 2003, in the number of people owning their home has been turned around with more than 14 million owner occupiers in the country last year.

The English Housing Survey released today also shows that:

  • among social housing tenants who want to achieve their dream of home ownership, more than half of local authority tenants and a third of housing association tenants expect to buy their current home
  • an increase in better homes with the number of properties failing to meet the government’s Decent Homes Standard continuing to fall and down by 3.1 million on 2006

Figures released earlier this week show that lending for first-time buyers is at its highest since 2007, while first-time buyers mortgages are up 11% year-on-year.

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said:

In 2010 there was a housing market where buyers couldn’t buy, builders couldn’t build and lenders couldn’t lend.

Our efforts are turning that around with more than 270,000 families helped into homeownership through government-backed schemes since 2010, while the number of new homes is up 25% over the last year.

And we’ve set out the boldest ambition for housing in a generation, doubling the budget so we can help a million more people into homeownership, while delivering a bigger, and better private rental sector.

Today’s figures show that out of the 22.5 million households in England in 2014 to 2015, the number of people owning their own home in the past year has remained static – the first time this has happened since 2003.

It also provides evidence that the government’s decision to reinvigorate and extend its flagship Right to Buy scheme has boosted the aspiration of social housing tenants with those expecting to buy their current home rising from 35% in 2010-11 to 42% in 2014-15.

More than 46,000 people have taken up the chance to buy their home through the reinvigorated scheme since 2012 with councils delivering replacement properties on a one to one basis ahead of schedule.

The government recently reached an historic voluntary deal with the National Housing Federation to extend the Right to Buy to 1.3 million housing association tenants. For every home sold at least 1 additional home will be built.

And we also recently announced the intention that 2 additional affordable homes will be delivered to replace each high value vacant local authority home sold in London.

Housebuilding is at the heart of the government’s long-term economic plan with more than £20 billion committed over the next 5 years to help meet its ambition to deliver 1 million new homes.

This includes £8 billion to deliver 400,000 affordable homes, including 200,000 Starter Homes offered with at least a 20% discount to young first-time buyers and 100,000 affordable homes for rent.

As part of its landmark Housing and Planning Bill, the government has also outlined an ambitious package of proposals to ensure that England’s 9 million private tenants receive the quality housing and protections they deserve.

Measures include:

  • a database of rogue landlords and property agents convicted of certain offences
  • banning orders for the most serious and prolific offenders
  • introduction of civil penalties of up to £30,000 as an alternative to prosecution
  • extension of Rent Repayment Orders to cover illegal eviction, breach of a banning order or failure to comply with a statutory notice
  • stringent fit and proper person test for landlords of licensable properties such as houses in multiple occupation

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Published 18 February 2016