Government unveils new housing strategy

| November 21, 2011 | 0 Comments
Government unveils new housing strategy

David Cameron has announced a new housing strategy designed to get “Britain building again” but Labour claims that the promise of £400m to kickstart stalled developments is ‘small beer’.

From July next year, the “Get Britain Building Fund” is expected to support the building of 16,000 new homes for which planning permission has already been granted, and the creation of 32,000 jobs.

By 2015, it is hoped that around 450,000 homes will be built, with the majority of them in the ‘affordable’ category.

The new strategy also includes plans to offer discounts of up to 50 per cent to tenants in social housing, to help them buy the property under ‘right to buy’.

The money raised by the sale of social housing will be re-invested, with one new social housing property being built to replace each one that is sold off.

More public sector land will be made available for house-building and a £150m fund will be available to help make empty housing fit for residential use again.

£50m of this fund will be focused on areas where there is a high concentration of empty homes.

Councils who bring empty homes back into use will be eligible for cash rewards under a ‘New Homes Bonus’ and they will be giver greater housing and planning powers.

Commenting on the announcement, Labour claimed that the government’s “mismanagement” of the economy was contributing to the downturn in housebuilding.

It wants a £2 billion tax to be levied on bank bonuses to boost house building and to create construction jobs.

As part of the new strategy, David Cameron confirmed recent speculation that a mortgage indemnity scheme will be established to help first time buyers who are struggling to raise the high deposits demanded by mortgage lenders since the credit crunch.

The scheme will allow first-time buyers of new homes to borrow up to 95% of their value, with the government underwriting part of the risk.

The difficulties faced by prospective house buyers is reflected in the latest figures from Rightmove which show a 3.1 per cent fall in the asking price of homes.

A shortage of buyers led to the asking price of newly marketed properties falling by £7,528 to £232,144 in November.

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