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Agents back First Homes - but should government do more to boost supply?

Agents have given their backing to the government’s First Homes initiative, offering discounted houses for local people and key workers and veterans.

Mark Hayward, chief policy adviser at Propertymark, says: “It is good to see these creative initiatives at this crucial time, one where our members are actively dealing with a very busy market right now, full of hungry buyers.  

“In welcoming this move we also reiterate our concern that introducing more buyers without increasing supply could further push the supply and demand out of balance, further fuelling the spiral in house prices.”

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“It’s clear that the government recognise the importance of homeownership, looking forward we want to see a further expansion of measures to support the market as a whole. Coupled with planning reforms to make building easier and create more homes, the government should now look to incorporate initiatives to encourage and support older generations downsizing and releasing family homes.”

The First Homes discount will be at least 30 per cent compared to the market price, insists the government.

That same percentage will then be passed on with the sale of the property to future first-time buyers, meaning homes will always be sold below market value.

The initial First Homes properties went on the market over the weekend as part of the first phase of an early delivery project in the Bolsover district, East Midlands. Further sites are set to launch across the country in the coming weeks. 

A further 1,500 will enter the market from the autumn, with at least 10,000 homes a year being delivered in the years ahead and more if there is demand.

Major lenders Halifax and Nationwide Building Society, along with local building societies and community lenders, say they will be offering high loan-to-value mortgages against First Homes to support the roll-out of the scheme.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick says: “Enabling more people to buy their own homes is at the heart of the mission of this government, and First Homes will offer a realistic and affordable route into home ownership for even more people who want to own their own home.

“We will offer more homes to local people and families, providing a route for first-time buyers to stay in their local areas rather than being forced out due to rising prices.

“First Homes will also support our fantastic key workers who are looking to get their first foot on the housing ladder – from front-line doctors and nurses to delivery drivers and supermarket staff – by giving many of them the chance to buy a home at a 30 per cent discount.

“These homes will be locked in for perpetuity to first-time buyers and key workers from their local area – making them an asset to both their owners and the wider local community.”

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