NAO to probe zero ‘starter home’ completions
National Audit Office (Image: Wates)
The National Audit Office (NAO) is to investigate why not a single ‘starter home’ has been built, despite a government announcement in 2015 that it was planning the construction of 200,000 of them.
Between 2015-16 and 2017-18, the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) spent almost £174m on acquiring and preparing sites originally intended for building starter homes, following the announcement by former housing minister Brandon Lewis under the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition.
Starter homes were intended to be houses built exclusively for first-time buyers under the age of 40 and sold at a 20% discount. The November 2015 Spending Review provided £2.3bn to support the creation of 60,000 starter homes.
But the legislation required to build them is not in place and the NAO said the sites were now being used for housing more generally, some of which is affordable housing.
The Housing and Planning Act (2016) set out the legislative framework for starter homes but without additional secondary legislation, even houses that conform to the intended starter home specifications cannot be marketed as starter homes, the NAO said.
The secondary legislation was due in 2019 but MHCLG has not yet presented the regulations to Parliament and no longer has a budget dedicated to the delivery of starter homes, the NAO said.