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200,000 starter homes promised by Cameron

Words: Laura Edgar

Prime minister David Cameron has said he will double the amount of starter homes available to 200,00 if the Conservatives win the general election.

The Coalition Government has already announced plans that offer 100,000 first-time buyers under 40 new homes with a 20 per cent discount, for which registration is now open.

Speaking in Colchester yesterday (2 March), Cameron explained the scheme, outlining how a change to the planning system would free up under-used or unviable brownfield land from planning costs, enabling homes built on the site to be sold at below their market value.

Additionally, the Starter Home Initiative will see developers who are offering starter homes to be exempt from section 106 requirements and Community Infrastructure Levy charges. The government said this meant that “the homes could then not be re-sold at market value for a fixed period – making sure that the savings are passed onto homebuyers”.

Developers and councils are able to respond to the proposals to make sure that the changes will make sites available.

Cameron said yesterday that both Barratt and Taylor Wimpey had signed up for the scheme, with more than 30 home builders supporting the plans.

The public can now register their interest at www.starter-home.co.uk

Who said what?

“Increasing housing supply is a huge and complex challenge, and significant barriers remain. Bringing forward more land for house building, while also enabling more first time buyers to realise their ambition of home ownership, would be another positive step on the way to tackling the housing shortage.

“The industry is keen to work with government to develop policies that would allow for more high quality homes to be built in the right places.”

Stewart Baseley, executive chairman, Home Builders Federation

“With an ever-increasing housing shortage, it is crucial that measures such as this are put in place to bring forward homes of the right type, in the right places, to enable first time buyers to step onto the housing ladder. 

“Given that government is already consulting on how to make it easier for developers to build on brownfield land, however, it will be interesting to see whether this initiative delivers as many homes as it has promised, as developing brownfield sites for market sale may well be preferable to some developers.”

Melanie Leech, chief executive, British Property Federation

“I support the need to get Britain building again, but we are already building less than half of the number of new homes we need in the UK. Therefore shouldn’t the focus be inclusive of everyone rather than just building 200,000 homes for the young who ‘work hard’?  

“Lots of people of all ages work hard and have done so for many years, yet still cannot afford to buy their own home. Many too have to rely on benefits – yet these are being cut, so owning their home will be just a dream.  

“There is a housing crisis due to a huge and growing shortage. The National Housing Federation Homes for Britain campaign [also supported by the Home Builders Federation and the RTPI] backs the need for more homes. We should not be building for one group of people. We need to focus on building more sustainable and affordable homes, in sustainable areas which in turn will create much needed jobs for everyone.  

“There are always going to be people who can’t afford to buy, so we need greater investment in a range of tenures, creating mixed communities and where housing is affordable for all.”

Chris Handy, chief executive at the Accord Group

"Developments, whether for first time buyers or not, still place burdens on infrastructure. The RTPI supports place making not just isolated housebuilding. Our work on on this issue has provided ways of addressing the problem in a comprehensive way, and we continue to press for more strategic and imaginative approaches to the housing crisis."