With people having spent so much time at home during the pandemic, having a home that meets their needs and gives them freedom and security has never felt more important.
That’s why, despite the fact that the dream of home ownership remains just that – a dream - for far too many, it is still a cherished aspiration for the vast majority of people in this country.
As Housing Secretary, I am determined to put this right; to close the generational divide that has opened up between those who own their home and those who do not and ensure that home ownership – one of the absolute foundations of our democracy – is once again a real possibility for people right across the country, including the West Midlands.
This is fundamental to our efforts to level up and build back better from the pandemic.
For me, it’s especially about prioritising young people, families as well as the key workers who have so heroically supported us through the crisis.
To that end, I was delighted to launch the delivery of First Homes in Cannock to help local people get a foot on the housing ladder.
Under this potentially life-changing initiative, we are helping reduce the cost of new homes for first-time buyers by a discount of at least 30 per cent in their local communities.
A discount that could help to save people as much as £90,000 on the price of an average newly built property in the West Midlands. And where the costs of property are highest, the discounts could be as much as 50 per cent.
This discount applies forever, meaning that, with fewer local people forced out by rising prices, communities can stick together and that not just one generation, but all those to follow, will benefit.
I grew up close to Cannock and look forward to seeing a new generation of homeowners being able to put down roots where they grew up.
And this is just the start.
We expect to deliver a further 1,500 First Homes from the end of the year, rising to at least 10,000 homes a year delivered in the years ahead and more if there is demand.
First Homes is just one of the flexible and affordable home ownership schemes that we are making available to help many more people secure the keys to their own home.
These options are outlined on our new ‘Own Your Home’ website, which includes detail about our new 95 per cent mortgage guarantee scheme which helps first-time buyers to secure a mortgage with just a 5 per cent deposit.
I know there is nothing like the feeling of pride when you get the keys to the first home you can call your own – when you can say to friends and family, “Welcome to my home.”
By building more homes – delivering, despite the pandemic, the biggest increase in new homes in 30 years last year – and helping more people on to housing ladder we are making that dream come true for more young people and families in the West Midlands and throughout the country.
This is what it means to level up and build back better.