The aim of the initiative is to help young first-time buyers, who are under 40 years of age, to purchase a home with a minimum 20% discount off the market price. With average house prices for first time buyers in England standing at around £218k, obviously depending on where you are, a new starter home could save those eligible across the country an average of £43k while helping to get them onto the housing ladder.
A consultation is currently underway and the conclusions are expected in the spring. In the meantime, The Home Builders Federation, via New-Homes.co.uk, has agreed to compile a database of people interested in receiving updates on the scheme and aspiring homeowners can register their interest now on a website at www.starter-home.co.uk.
One of the reasons that this move is possible is due to changes in planning policy, essentially meaning that builders who develop commercial and industrial land - which is either unusable or surplus - for the new starter homes will be able to save on costs by freeing them from the requirement to provide affordable housing. In return, developers will have to offer the homes at the discounted price.
Developers and councils are being asked to respond to the proposals to ensure the changes will make a range of sites across the country available. Many of the country’s leading house builders and councils are already looking at options that could be used for new homes – and a long list of house builders, including the main players, have already pledged their support to the idea and building on the first properties is expected to start within months.
I am never backwards in coming forwards about home ownership and any scheme that genuinely helps people to kick start this is more than welcome in my eyes. Whilst it may have its detractors and critics (as no policy is perfect), anything that leaves the retiring with a property asset rather than the government having to pay their rent must be a step in the right direction and a positive step.