Press release

Over a million more people given the chance to own their own home

Communities Secretary Greg Clark to announce landmark changes to spread home ownership to millions.

  • Government to confirm first Queen’s Speech will include a ground-breaking Housing Bill
  • Right to Buy to be extended to 1.3 million housing association tenants
  • Sweeping new measures, including a Right to Build, to also boost housebuilding

Communities Secretary Greg Clark is to announce landmark changes to spread home ownership to millions, as part of the government’s commitment to working people.

Communities Secretary Greg Clark said:

Our Housing Bill will offer over a million people a helping hand onto the housing ladder. That is what a government for working people is about – making sure people have the security they need to build a brighter future for them and their families.

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said:

Schemes like Help to Buy are helping thousands of people who want to buy their own home – but we need to go further.

Anyone who works hard and wants to get on the property ladder should have the opportunity to do so, which is why tomorrow’s Queen’s Speech will include measures so a million more people have the chance to do exactly that.

And with housing starts at their highest since 2007, we’ll take steps that will get workers on sites and keep the country building.

The vast majority of people want to own their own home. While substantial progress has already been made in helping people achieve this, with more than 200,000 households helped to buy a home since 2010 through government-backed schemes, further action must be taken.

The Bill includes a comprehensive range of measures to offer England’s 1.3 million housing association tenants the chance to benefit from the same opportunities council tenants enjoy, with significant discounts to buy their homes.

Receipts from selling current property will help build replacement affordable homes on a one-for-one basis. This means the number of homes across all tenures will effectively double for each home sold, increasing national housing supply and creating a new affordable home for those in need from each sale.

First-time buyers will be further helped by plans to deliver 200,000 Starter Homes, which will be available at a 20% discount to first-time buyers under 40.

A ‘Right to Build’ in the Bill will also help increase housing supply and diversify the housing sector by giving people the right to be allocated land with planning permission for them to self-build or commission a local builder to build a home. Self-build delivers a majority of homes in many other countries and can act as a boost to smaller and medium sized builders.

The Bill will confirm housing as a priority for the government, and ensure home ownership is once again seen as an attainable aspiration.

Further information

Right to Buy

Discounts available under the Right to Buy were significantly increased in 2012, and currently stand at a maximum £77,900 outside London and £103,900 in the capital.

But this only applies to those who live in council housing, or whose homes have transferred from a council to a housing association.

It means social tenants living in the same neighbourhood can have vastly different levels of discount – or no Right to Buy at all.

Mr Clark said the Housing Bill will “create a level playing field” to ensure any social tenant wanting to buy their home would have the opportunity to do so at the same levels of discount – regardless of whether they live in a council or housing association property.

The Right to Buy policy will in itself increase house building and reduce social housing waiting lists and housing associations will be able to use the revenues from sales to invest in more affordable housing.

The sales receipts will be put toward new affordable homes, which along with government funding will allow one for one replacement in the same area.

Rather than one rented property there will be 2 properties, an old one with a new homeowner, and a new one available for those in need on the waiting list.

To fund this policy the Housing Bill will also require councils to sell their most expensive housing when it falls vacant – with the receipts used to provide new affordable homes in the same area, and the surplus used to fund the Right to Buy for housing association tenants. Remaining funds will be invested in a new Brownfield Regeneration Fund to increase the supply of new housing.

Building Starter Homes, releasing brownfield land and ‎creating a new Right to Build

The government has also announced plans to deliver 200,000 new Starter Homes across the country.

These new homes will be sold with a 20% discount to first-time buyers under 40, with the Housing Bill paving the way to ensure this process can be completed quickly.

A new register of brownfield land will also help fast-track the construction of new homes on previously-used sites near existing communities.

A ‘Right to Build’ in the Bill will also help increase housing supply and diversify the housing sector by giving people the right to be allocated land with planning permission for them to self-build or commission a local builder to build a home. Self-build delivers a majority of homes in many other countries and can act as a boost to smaller and medium sized builders.

‎The new Right to Build will offer support to aspiring self-builders, by requiring councils to identify, and release shovel-ready plots so people don’t have to wait years to get work underway.

And neighbourhood planning – already benefiting almost 1,500 communities with more joining them each week – will be streamlined and sped up.

Further action

The government has already announced plans to extend the Help to Buy: equity loan scheme to 2020 – helping even more people buy their own home with a fraction of the deposit they would normally require.

The government will also continue to take strong action on other key housing policies, including the affordable housing programme, and the Help to Buy ISA – which will help get Britain building.

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