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Government schemes helping more UK first time buyers onto housing ladder

Over 56,000 households have now been helped to purchase a home since 2012 through the UK Government’s revitalised Right to Buy scheme, the latest figures show.

And when all the schemes are added together more than 312,000 households have benefited from home ownership schemes including Right to Buy, Help to Buy and Help to Buy: Shared Ownership since 2010.

The figures also show that over 3,350 households bought under the Right to Buy scheme in the three months to June, a 21% increase from the same time last year and councils received £283 million from sales of homes, a 27% increase for the same quarter last year, which will be re-invested into new homes.

‘Right to Buy plays an important part in building a country that works for everyone, helping thousands of people become homeowners for the first time. And we’re determined to replace the additional homes sold on a one for one basis, nationally, providing new affordable homes for rent for those who need them,’ said Housing and Planning Minister Gavin Barwell.

The top 10 places taking up Right to Buy are Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, Sandwell in the West Midlands, Southwark, Greenwich, Nottingham, Newham, Leicester and Barking and Dagenham.

The voluntary agreement between the Government and housing associations will give even more households the chance to purchase their home with Right to Buy level discounts, according to Barwell. The scheme is currently being piloted by five associations.

Under the agreement reached with the sector, when the main scheme is rolled out every home sold will be replaced nationally with an additional new property increasing the overall supply of housing.

Richard Connolly, chief executive officer of Rentplus, said it is important that schemes to help people onto the housing ladders need to be sustainable. ‘In the UK there is a severe lack of affordable housing, and it is important that models which allow people to migrate to home ownership are sustainable,’ he explained.

‘It is concerning that there is an apparent emerging chasm between the number of Right to Buy sales and the number of housing starts by local authorities. For example in 2015/2016 there were 12,246 Right to Buy sales but only 2,055 starts and acquisitions by local authorities,’ he pointed out.

‘Part of the solution to the issue of housing supply in the UK should be Rent to Buy models which allow tenants to rent their property at an affordable level, with the option to buy later. Working with local authorities this can be underpinned by a best endeavours agreement to ensure each home sold is replaced on a one for one basis,’ he said.

‘This ensures that levels of affordable housing in a local area remain at the levels required to house people on a range of incomes, allowing them to provide consistency for their families and make social and economic contributions to their communities,’ he added.