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Clark launches £26 million fund to build homes for first-time buyers

Words: Huw Morris
Starter homes

A £26 million fund for housebuilders to develop homes for first time buyers in England has been launched by the government.

The fund, which will support the starter homes initiative, is aimed at architects, developers, councils, housing associations and small developers, with a specific brief to improve design quality.

The money is intended to be used to acquire brownfield sites for starter homes, with revenues from the sales of such sites going back to the government.

In a separate move, the government is also making available up to £10 million for local authorities to prepare brownfield land for developing starter homes.

Communities secretary Greg Clark said: "This competitive fund will build homes that will clearly show the wide range of new properties that will be available for first time buyers."

Under the initiative, the government pledged to build 200,000 starter homes by 2020. Starter homes will be offered to first time buyers under 40, at 20 per cent discount on market rates, in exchange for exempting developers from section 106 and community infrastructure levy payments.

The British Property Federation (BPF) said the money was a welcome step towards unlocking brownfield land, but more would be needed if the government is to meet its 200,000 home target.

“Brownfield sites often prove to be extremely lengthy and complex to develop, and if the government wants to see a significant amount of housing delivered on them, then developers and housebuilders are going to need some help,” said BPF chief executive Melanie Leech.