Last week the Government published its response to the proposals on the provision of so-called ‘First Homes’ to increase home ownership across the country. It is thought that this will bring with it changes to the planning system to bring these provisions into policy. Claire Shannon from the Cheffins Planning & Development team explains these in more detail:
“Following these proposals published by the Government, it is proposed that a minimum of 25 per cent of affordable homes built will be provided as First Homes as part of section 106 developer contributions. These First Homes are different from ‘affordable housing’ as they are to be sold at a discount of 30 per cent to market price for first time buyers and key workers only, with a maximum household income of £80,000. There are also additional criteria for this which can be set by each Local Authority, such as prioritising key workers or buyers with a local connection. Whilst the Government’s Help to Buy scheme has already helped over 210,000 people get onto the property ladder, the plan is to build on this, allowing first-time-buyers to purchase a property within their local area at a lower price. The hope is that this will save buyers around £100,000 on the price of an average new build house in England.
Should these proposals be adopted, developers will not need to provide a higher number of first time buyer homes, rather, these will come under the umbrella of affordable homes. Currently developers usually need to provide between 20 and 40 per cent of affordable properties at any given scheme and this threshold is not expected to change. Also, the policy will not apply to sites with full or outline planning permissions already in place or within six months of implementation of these new proposals.
In an attempt to ensure that this is not a ‘one hit wonder,’ the Government plans to ensure that this discount is secured in perpetuity. Every time one of these First Homes is resold, the discount is then passed on to the next generation of homeowners. In addition, there is a possibility of higher minimum discounts of up to 50 per cent if a local need can be evidenced.
It is expected that reforms to the planning system to encompass the First Homes initiative will be produced in the coming weeks.”
For further information on this for property developers, please don’t hesitate to contact the Cheffins Planning & Development team on firstname.lastname@example.org