Houses discounted by 30% for first-time buyers go on sale under new Government scheme – but expert says it won’t supply demand

Rose Hansen

Houses with ‘locked-in’ 30 per cent discounts for first-time buyers are due to go on the market – with councils able to prioritise front-line workers looking to get on the property ladder. The debut batch of properties as part of the ‘First Homes’ scheme were set to be put up […]

Houses with ‘locked-in’ 30 per cent discounts for first-time buyers are due to go on the market – with councils able to prioritise front-line workers looking to get on the property ladder.

The debut batch of properties as part of the ‘First Homes’ scheme were set to be put up for sale on Friday, with Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick visiting the East Midlands site to mark the start of the ‘route for first-time buyers to stay in their local areas’ in the face of soaring house prices.

The discounted homes will be available to first-time buyers for almost a third off compared with the market price, the Ministry of Housing said.

That same 30 per cent will be passed on with the sale of the property to future first-time buyers, so that the properties will always be sold below market value to later generations, according to the department.

Officials said councils will be able to prioritise the homes for key workers such as nurses and teachers who have been looking to get on the housing ladder while supporting their communities through the coronavirus pandemic.

The Government will permit each individual local authority to set a local connection test to determine who should be prioritised for the scheme.

Mr Jenrick said: “Enabling more people to buy their own homes is at the heart of the mission of this Government, and First Homes will offer a realistic and affordable route into homeownership for even more people who want to own their own home.

“Thanks to First Homes, we will offer more homes to local people and families, providing a route for first-time buyers to stay in their local areas rather than being forced out due to rising prices.

“First Homes will also support our fantastic key workers who are looking to get their first foot on the housing ladder – from front-line doctors and nurses to delivery drivers and supermarket staff – by giving many of them the chance to buy a home at a 30 per cent discount.

“These homes will be locked in for perpetuity to first-time buyers and key workers from their local area – making them an asset to both their owners and the wider local community.”



‘We will offer more homes to local people and families’

The First Homes scheme, which featured in the Conservative Party’s winning 2019 election manifesto, is part of Boris Johnson’s administration’s ambition to build one million new affordable homes during this parliament.

With the concept first being available to buyers in Bolsover, further sites are set to launch across the country in the coming weeks.

A further 1,500 will enter the market from the autumn, with at least 10,000 homes a year being delivered in the years ahead – and more if there is demand, officials said.

But Rightmove’s director of property data, Tim Bannister, believes the number of properties being planned for the third-off discount scheme was ‘unlikely’ to ‘satisfy the high levels of demand’.

“There’s likely to be a scramble for properties under this scheme as they become available, especially as we’ve already seen an influx of first-time buyers enter the market recently, helped by more lower-deposit mortgages being available,” he said.

“Based on current available stock levels it’s unlikely there will be enough of these properties to satisfy the high levels of demand, so eligible buyers will need to get in quick to have the best chance of securing one.”

First Homes comes just months after the Prime Minister’s 95 per cent mortgage guarantee concept was unveiled, which is designed to assist first-time buyers secure a mortgage with only a 5 per cent deposit.

Major high-street lenders Halifax and Nationwide Building Society, along with local building societies and community lenders, have announced that they will be offering high loan-to-value mortgages against First Homes to support the rollout.

Andrew Haigh, chief executive at Newcastle Building Society, which is one of those committed to providing loans, said: “Home ownership can often feel out of reach for first-time buyers – especially those without access to the bank of mum and dad.

“We’re committed to delivering innovative ways to help first-time buyers find affordable and sustainable ways to own their own home.”

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