A series of further measures and reforms designed to help alleviate the current challenges in the housing market and to support the vital delivery of more homes over the long-term, were announced yesterday by Housing Minister Caroline Flint.
The new measures include:
· A scheme to support first time buyers into home ownership by renting first and buying later.
· New partnerships between the public and private sector that will put councils back at the centre stage of providing homes
· New proposals to deliver up to 75,000 homes in 20 more towns and cities. The councils in these areas of high demand have been selected as New Growth Points and have pledged to increase the number of homes in their local areas by up 20% by 2016, delivering a total of up to 75,000 extra homes.
· Allocating the first tranche of a £510m funding pot to reward councils who are working to bring land forward for development, helping to provide more homes and give the house building industry greater certainty that suitable land will be available when the market picks up.
· Confirming that more funding, beyond the £200m already allocated to buy unsold stock from house builders for affordable homes, could be made available, should the properties by in the right place, at the right price, and offering good standards. The Housing Corporation is now in discussion with many of the major house builders to discuss options for bringing unsold homes into the affordable housing sector.
Housing Minister Caroline Flint said that the package will help people facing difficulties right now and help meet the long term housing needs of the country. The government is, she said “acknowledging not only the difficulties faced by individuals and families, but those who work in the house building industry”.
Independent think tank the New Local Government Network said that the announcement puts local authorities back at the heart of house building for the first time in a generation and that the plans rightly recognise the crucial role that councils could perform in building social housing, helping first-time buyers and supporting an unstable housing market.