Housing minister Gavin Barwell confirmed today (3 January) that thousands of new starter homes will be built on brownfield sites across the country in 2017, with 30 councils being picked to develop the schemes.
Councils signing up to deliver the first starter homes for young first-time buyers include Bristol, Blackpool, Greater Manchester, Lincoln and Liverpool.
Barwell said the homes would be sold exclusively to first-time buyers between 23 and 40 years of age, at a discount of at least 20% below market value.
It is hoped these new developments will also support the wider growth and regeneration of local areas, including some existing town centre sites.
Funding will be made available via the government’s £1.2bn Starter Homes Land Fund.
Barwell said: “This first wave of partnerships shows the strong local interest to build thousands of starter homes on hundreds of brownfield sites in the coming years. One in three councils has expressed an interest to work with us so far.”
Elsewhere, a new wave of garden villages, designed to create up to 50,000 new homes England, has also been given the green light by government.
Ministers have backed 14 bids around the country that will develop new communities of between 1,500 and 10,000 properties. It is an expansion of the existing garden towns programme, with three extra locations for larger garden towns in Buckinghamshire, Somerset and the Essex-Hertfordshire border being signed off.
The new villages will receive about £6m in government funding over two years to help deliver the projects, with a further £1.4m of funding being provided for the delivery of the new towns.
Together with the seven garden towns already announced, the government says these new garden settlements have the combined potential to provide almost 200,000 new homes across the country.
Barwell said: “Locally-led garden towns and villages have enormous potential to deliver the homes that communities need.
“New communities not only deliver homes, they also bring new jobs and facilities and a big boost to local economies. These places combined could provide almost 200,000 homes.”
Speaking about the announcements, Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master builders, said both new initiatives were welcome, but more work will be needed to properly tackle the housing crisis.
He said: “It’s great to see the housing minister kick off 2017 by giving the green light to the first starter homes. These homes will help some first-time buyers get a foot on the housing ladder, and our small house builders are enthusiastic about delivering on that vision, but starter homes will not be a panacea. A wider set of measures aimed at increasing the capacity of the house building industry is needed to overturn the long-term undersupply of new homes.”
“Central to this must be getting small and medium-sized builders delivering more new homes. For instance, the announcement of 14 ‘garden villages’ and more garden towns needs to be backed up by implementation plans which provide opportunities to SME builders as well as the large companies.
“These are positive messages to start the year with and they show that the government is putting house building at the front and centre of its ambitions for 2017.”