Martin Ford 05 November 2019

No starter homes have been built yet, investigation finds

None of the Government’s planned ‘starter homes’ have yet been built as legislation has not been implemented, a report by the National Audit Office (NAO) has found.

The Government pledged in 2014 to build 200,000 ‘starter homes’, to be sold at a 20% discount to first-time buyers aged under 40.

In 2015, £2.3bn was allocated to deliver the first 60,000, with £174m being spent by Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG)

However, not one starter home has been completed and much of the budget has been reallocated to other housing funds, the NAO investigation has concluded.

To date, 19 grants worth almost £6.5m have been awarded to 15 local authorities to prepare brownfield land, which will generate 444 new homes, of which 374 are expected to be affordable.

Homes England spent £15.4m of the £26m on offer from the Government to prepare brownfield land and is forecasting that it will generate 379 new homes, of which 98 will be affordable.

MHCLG has also used £151m to acquire and remediate land to be sold to developers and expects to receive £137.2m from the onward sale.

It predicts the spending will create 1,268 affordable homes and 3,907 market homes – but the NAO said they cannot be marketed as starter homes without the necessary secondary legislation in place.

The NAO’s report said that while some developers had marketed discounted properties as ‘starter homes’, they do not necessarily meet the criteria to be classed as starter homes as defined in the legislation yet to come into force.

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