Thomas Bridge 02 March 2015

First time house buyers offered 20% discount

First time house buyers will from today be able to register for a 20% discount on certain properties in England.

The Starter Homes initiative will allow prospective buyers aged under 40 to claim the discount on properties built on brownfield sites. Discounts will remain on these properties for the first five years to stop buyers from re-selling and winning a quick saving.

Builders will be freed from affordable housing contributions to develop these properties on underused commercial or industrial land.

Councils and housebuilders can now start submitting plans to get Starter Homes developments underway, with working alongside developers to find suitable sites.

Yet housing associations raised concerns that the scheme could be detrimental to the development of affordable and social properties.

Prime minister David Cameron said: 'We want to help people who work hard and want to get on in life but have been priced out of the housing market. A 20% discount off the price could be a real game-changer for many aspiring home-owners.'

Communities secretary Eric Pickles added: 'The number of first-time buyers is already at a seven-year high and these Starter Homes, available at a 20% discount, will help even more people realise their dream of home ownership.

'This will also form part of our wider efforts to get the country building again, which have already led to 700,000 new homes being delivered since the end of 2009.'

Responding to the announcement, David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, said: 'This initiative would come at the expense of investment into properties for affordable and social rent and shared ownership, taking money away from renters and giving it to first-time buyers. We need all developments to contribute to affordable housing supply.

'We are calling on the next government to come up with a long-term plan to end the housing crisis within a generation, by making homes affordable as well as helping first-time buyers.'

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