And no, that's not a comment on our #broken housing market, just the current state of Whitehall IT programming apparently.
Back in June I wrote a star-gazing passle piece trying to take the clues from the revised Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations as to what Starter Homes might look like. Buried in amongst the Queens Speech the eagle eyed amongst you may have spotted a change in terminology. Good-bye Starter Homes! Hello First Homes!
And this morning Mr Jenrick is announcing the start of a detailed consultation on the subject.
The headlines show First Homes will be
- a 30% discount locked into the property to ensure more first-time buyers benefit in years to come. (i.e the discount remains rather than the stepped product we were expecting through Starter Homes).
- a proportion of new homes, with the government consulting on how this will be delivered.
- Veterans will be prioritised as part of Armed Forces Covenant and councils will also be able to use the scheme for front-line workers in their area such as police, nurses, prison officers and teachers.
- current and recent Armed Forces personnel will be taken to have met the local eligibility criteria for First Homes in any local area under any circumstances.
- apply the discount in perpetuity, so when the home is sold in years to come the new local buyer will be able to purchase it at a discount as well.
- be paid for through the contributions that housing developers routinely provide through the planning system. These contributions are an established mechanism for ensuring that new developments deliver benefits for local communities. This means that the First Homes scheme will not result in extra building costs.
But as always the devil is in the detail and that seems to have gotten lost in cyber space.
https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/first-homes has already been moved or replaced and the pdf file google found me is gone too. So... More on this when the detail is tidied back up.
The LGA have already commented, headlines via the link, but in a nutshell, having the ability to set discounts locally rather than an arbitrary national discount is important to them. Personally I support this, my local government experience was in Lincolnshire and West Berkshire - 2 exceptionally different housing markets, where a 30% discount will have very different effects.
What strikes me however is the difference between Starter Homes and First Homes - not the level of the discount but the length of it. Starter Homes were discounted at first sale and then a claw back mechanism was to be used to ensure that purchaser stayed in place for a period of time before being able to sell at full market value. First Homes are a lifetime discount. The government may be helping people on the ladder but in this case it will remain a different ladder, if they need to move for work or family reasons (or any other personal choice) they will have no choice but to down size for their second home to get onto the "free market" ladder.
But as I say the devil is in the detail - more to follow...
A new generation of homeowners will be able to take their first step on to the housing ladder thanks to a scheme cutting the cost of some new homes by a third