Discounted homes scheme will help people stay local, says Housing Secretary

A new homes scheme offering discounts for first-time buyers will stop people being forced out of parts of the region due to rising prices, the Housing Secretary has said.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick visited the new development in Cannock
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick visited the new development in Cannock

First Homes, which was launched last month, promises a leg up on the housing ladder for first-time buyers through a discount of at least 30 per cent, with councils able to prioritise the scheme for frontline workers.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick saw the scheme in action during a visit to the Vistry Group-developed site in Walkmill Place, Cannock, where he chatted with workers and new homeowners.

It came as new figures showed that housebuilding completions across the country hit a 20-year high in the first three months of 2021.

Mr Jenrick, who is from Wolverhampton, told the Express & Star: "We want to help young people to stay in their own area, and to put down roots and raise a family in the place that they call home.

"The First Homes scheme is unique, because it enables people from that area to get a discount on a home so they can get on the housing ladder in the place where they are from.

"More broadly, we are building more homes so we can tackle the affordability crisis in this country, and so more young people can enjoy all the security, pride and prosperity that comes with owning a home."

Cannock Chase Council’s deputy leader, Councillor Bryan Jones, said he was delighted to be part of the scheme as the authority had prioritised building new affordable homes in the district.

First Homes makes discounted houses available to first-time buyers for at least 30 per cent less than the market price.

That discount 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 Ministry of Housing said.

The Cannock scheme is the second to launch in the country and will initially feature 10 homes.

Further sites are set to launch across the country in the coming months, with ministers aiming for 1,500 homes to be on the market by the end of the year and 60,000 by 2029-30.

It forms part of the Government's pledge to build 300,000 new homes a year, which was given a boost this week after the latest housing supply figures showed that 49,470 new homes were completed in England from January to March – the highest quarterly figure since the seasonally adjusted data was first compiled in 2000.

Mr Jenrick said the figures were "really encouraging" and that the construction industry was "absolutely critical" to the country's Covid recovery.

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