04/12 Council housing: the right to buy?

4 April 2012

Natalie Elphicke comments on David Cameron's announcement that there will be a boost for Council House tenants wanting to buy their properties.

Natalie's comments:

Right to buy discounts are the government being the "bank of mum and dad" for many people who don't have the "bank of mum and dad" to help them out with deposits to get on to the housing ladder. In the years running up to the credit crunch, right to buy discounts had been so severely reduced that many people weren't able to get on the housing ladder who had solid jobs and could have got good mortgage availability at that time. That decision by the previous government not to support people from social housing into home ownership has kept thousands of people out of home ownership.

Our experience is that people, whether well off or averagely off, want to be able to buy, not just to rent long term. It must be recognised, however, that mortgage availability remains constrained and is likely to be so for some time yet. It is to be hoped that the fresh commitment to home ownership, like that we have seen today through the right to buy, could work together with the new institutional investment funds and new home purchase products which have been developed since the credit crunch to provide sustainable and affordable provision of home ownership for lower income responsible households who dream to own their own home.

Background:

Prime Minister launches reinvigorated Right to Buy scheme

Tuesday 3 April 2012

From April this year two million social tenants could benefit from a discount of up to £75,000 with Right to Buy scheme

The Government has today launched the reinvigorated Right to Buy, with a new discount of up to £75,000. Since 1980, two million social homes have been bought by their occupants under the scheme, but numbers have gradually fallen – to fewer than 4,000 sales last year – as discounts have declined, making the scheme virtually meaningless in some parts of the country.

From April this year two million social tenants could benefit from a discount of up to £75,000 – more than quadrupling the discount cap in London and trebling it in most parts of the country.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“I want many more people to achieve the dream of home ownership. In the 80s, Right to Buy helped millions of people living in council housing achieve their aspiration of owning their own home. It gave something back to families who worked hard, paid their rent and played by the rules. It allowed them to do up their home, change their front door, improve their garden – without getting permission from the council.

It gave people a sense of pride and ownership not just in their home, but in their street and neighbourhood, helping to build strong families and stable mixed communities. But over time the discounts were cut, they didn’t keep pace with rises in property prices, and this vital rung on the property ladder was all but removed. This Government is now putting it back by dramatically increasing the discount rates so that we support the dreams of those council tenants who to want to own the roof over their head.”

Press release issued via the Number10 website. For further details, please go to:
http://www.number10.gov.uk/news/prime-minister-launches-reinvigorated-right-to-buy-scheme/

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