The Conservatives' attempt to extend the Right To Buy policy and apply it to housing association homes in addition to council flats and houses has received a frosty reception.
The Conservatives say up to 1.3m housing association tenants could buy their homes at a discount as a result.
Currently some 800,000 housing association tenants have a "right to acquire" homes under smaller discounts, but the Conservatives would significantly boost those discounts and extend the scheme to those who currently have no purchase rights at all, estimated to be about 500,000 people.
If the discounts match those given to council tenants, the sums involved would be considerable: the maximum discount is £77,900 across England, except in London boroughs, where it is £103,900.
The Conservatives say every house purchased will be replaced "on a one-for-one basis" with more affordable homes and no-one will be forced to leave their home; however, the Tory manifesto unveiled yesterday speaks only of a pledge to build 400,000 new homes.
Some analysts criticise the old Right To Buy policy for effectively removing social housing - in the form of council flats and houses sold cheaply to tenants - without replacing them in sufficient numbers, effectively worsening the overall housing problem.
Since Margaret Thatcher introduced Right To Buy for council properties in 1980, just over two million council homes have been sold; around 345,000 replacements have been built.
Tory proposals to unlock brownfield land for housebuilding could perhaps have more far-reaching tremors through the market, but many will be speculating today whether 400,000 homes over a five year period is truly enough to abate our current housing shortage says Adrian Gill, director of Your Move and Reeds Rain estate agents.
The expansion of Right To Buy may be good politics but represents terrible policy says Adam Challis, head of residential research at estate agency and consultancy JLL.
He went on: "This is exactly the kind of short-termist thinking that the countries' 4.7m households in social housing don't need, not to mention the same number again of aspiring owners in private renting. Right to Buy benefits a select few while condemning the vast majority to longer waiting lists and fewer choices.
The criticism was echoed in other quarters.
It carries no guarantee of greater house building as a result. The danger is that it will weaken the future capacity of the social renting sector to provide a safety net for those who cannot afford to house themselves via the private market. The risk is that in this manifesto along with others we will get more short term initiatives and that politicians will continue to avoid owning up to the need for a fully formed housing strategy that balances support for people across all forms of tenure says Peter Williams, executive director of the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association.
Gavin Smart, deputy chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing, says he is very concerned that it would result in a dramatic loss of vital social and affordable housing.
Times columnist and well-known Conservative supporter Tim Montgomerie tweeted yesterday, after the launch of the Tory manifesto: The right-to-buy policy needs a housebuilding policy alongside it - otherwise it repeats the errors of the 1980s.
David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, says if housing associations are obliged to offer tenants discounts of, in some cases, over £100,000 then the Tory pledge to have homes built to replace those sold off is a hollow joke.
He gives the example of Phoenix Community Housing in London which recently sold a home worth £210,000 on the open market for just over half of that. From the proceeds, some went back to the Treasury, some to the local authority leaving a receipt of just £27,000. Have you tried building a new home for £27,000 asks Orr.
Shelter said this policy was another nail in the coffin for affordable housing....already seen outright failure to replace like-for-like homes sold under Right To Buy [council properties.]
The only property industry voice that appeared to back the move without reservation was high-end estate agency Jackson-Stops & Staff. We are delighted to see the right to buy being extended to housing associations. Jackson-Stops supports any initiative that enables social housing tenants to buy their own property, provided that the funds realised are reinvested in the sector says JSS chairman Nick Leeming.
Amongst consumer groups, the HomeOwners' Alliance also welcomed the initiative. Enabling people to buy their housing association homes will help thousands of people realise their dreams says HOA chief executive Paula Higgins.
Right To Buy for council tenants is being abolished by the SNP-controlled government in Scotland and the Labour-controlled administration in Wales.