“Q Is anything ever likely to come of the starter homes initiative? It was launched amid much fanfare by George Osborne towards the end of 2014 but there has been little news since, beyond a few stories regarding funding concerns.
Meanwhile, the starter homes newsletter, which was getting increasingly infrequent and was only ever a series of adverts for developments (none of which contained starter homes) seems to have dried up, and the dedicated starter homes website simply links back to a generic new homes website, as it did when it was launched.
I had been holding off buying a house as the promised minimum discount of 20% sounds worth waiting for, but I’m beginning to question whether it was only ever a cynical attempt to woo millennial voters, to be abandoned at the first opportunity.
A Given the dearth of news about the starter homes scheme, it’s tempting to think that it has been quietly shelved – not least because it was an initiative announced when the Tories were in coalition with the Lib Dems.
But in fact, shortly after the current government came to power, it was announced that the original target of 100,000 new starter homes to be built by 2020 would be doubled. So potentially 200,000 first-time buyers aged between 23 and 40 with a household income of £80,000 or less (£90,000 in London) will be able to buy new-build properties at a discount of at least 20% where the discounted price is less than £450,000 in London but £250,000 everywhere else in England. The starter homes will generally be built on underused or unviable brownfield land previously used for commercial or industrial purposes.
Those first-time buyers shouldn’t hold their breath, however, as no starter homes have yet been completed. And at the beginning of last year only 71 sites across England had received grants from the Starter Home Land Fund to enable local authorities to acquire and/or prepare suitable land for starter home developments. So a lot depends on where you live if you want to take advantage of the scheme. First-time buyers in Burnley won’t have to wait much longer as, in partnership with Barnfield Investment Properties, Burnley council started work on the first phase of residential apartments back in February 2017.
If you don’t happen to live in Burnley, finding out about starter home developments in your local area is hard and the new homes website you mention is no help at all. The alternative to waiting for a discounted starter home would be to look into the help-to-buy scheme where you get a loan of up to 20% from government towards the purchase of a new-build property.”