Response: Starter Homes for First Time Buyers

By: Pete Jefferys  Published: January 2015


Shelter welcomes the opportunity to respond to the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) consultation on 'Starter Homes'. At Shelter we are in contact with millions of people every year through our front-line advice services, help-line and website who need our specialist housing advice and support. We are hearing more and more from people are struggling with the cost and availability of homes in their local area. That's why we are campaigning for all political parties to commit to building the homes we need to address our massive housing shortage, which has built up under successive governments.

Summary

It is very positive that the government is looking at new ways to stimulate house building including this Starter Homes initiative. It is also right that the government is looking at ways to make new homes more affordable for first time buyers, who are increasingly priced out of the market. At Shelter we have consistently highlighted the difficulty young people have in saving a deposit and getting a stable home of their own.
However:
1. There is no good reason to exclude the option of affordable housing from these new schemes. Using a planning intervention to achieve lower land costs will lead to different levels of viability in different local markets. Local authorities should have the option to consider and prioritise bids with an affordable housing element in addition to first time buyer discounts.
2. There is no good reason to restrict these interventions to brownfield land only. Greenfield land outside of the planning pipeline offers the best opportunities to generate value to pay for infrastructure, affordable housing or discounts for first time buyers. DCLG should allow for the use of these exception sites on greenfield land, including through greenbelt swaps.
3. On balance we would advocate a longer period (15 years) before homes can be sold-on at market value. This is to allow the size of the discount market to grow and preserve affordability.

Download

Download the full document: