starter homes will be built across England to be sold exclusively to first time
buyers under the age of 40 by 2020. That
was the Government’s pledge in its 2015 manifesto.
After an investigation by the National Audit Office, NAO, it is revealed that no starter homes have been built.
Starter homes investigation.
an investigation with the aim of establishing the status of starter homes
policy and legislation. Also, to evaluate the impact of the Ministry of Housing, Communities
& Local Government’s, MHCLG’s, investment in
date, no such homes have been built because the government has not activated
all of the necessary legislation or budgeted for them say the NAO.
The MHCLG previously stated that its overarching objective for new housing in England is to “support the delivery of a million homes by the end of 2020 and half a million more by the end of 2022 and put us on track to deliver 300,000 net additional homes a year on average.”
Number of new homes built remains lower than in the 1980s.
Since 2015, the number of new homes built has grown year on
year but remains lower than in the 1980s.
The ambition to deliver 300,000 net additional homes is
supported by an extensive and complex array of policies many of which
pre-date this Parliament and have been carried over from previous housing
The programme to create Starter Homes is one of these and was first publicised in 2014.
Starter Homes Scheme was supposed to tackle the housing crisis
Conservative Party manifesto committed to the scheme as a way of tackling the
affordable housing crisis.
project was also supposed to support the wider growth and regeneration of local
areas, and some town centres.
homes were meant to be built across the country by the end of the decade and
more than £2bn was set aside for the first set of the building works to begin.
to the National Audit Office (NAO), between 2015-16 and 2017-18, the MHCLG
spent almost £174m on acquiring and preparing sites originally intended for
building starter homes.
were in places such as Plymouth, Bury, Basildon, Stockport, Bridgwater,
Cinderford and Bristol.
But the NAO said the sites were all now being used for housing more generally, only some of which was affordable.
200,000 starter homes were included in the plan and were be sold at a 20% discount.
The November 2015 Spending Review provided £2.3bn to support the
delivery of the first 60,000 of the 200,000 Starter Homes.
The Housing and Planning Act (2016) set out the
legislative framework for starter homes and MHCLG ran a consultation on
starter homes Regulations between March and June 2016.
Between 2015 and 2018, government’s policy towards starter homes
In May 2018, the Minister of State for Housing and Planning
stated that the government had spent an estimated £250m of the Starter
Homes Land Fund.
In July 2018, the MHCLG clarified that it had spent £250m buying land to build affordable properties from two funds, the Starter Homes Land Fund and the Land Assembly Fund, with work underway to get the land ready for development, but that building had not yet started.
The legislation and planning needed was never put through Parliament.
said the scheme had faltered because the necessary legislation and planning
guidance had never been put through Parliament, despite expectations it would
happen in 2019.
result, even new homes conforming to the intended specifications cannot be
marketed as starter homes, which has made getting developers on board
The government also no longer had a budget dedicated to the starter homes project.
“The MHCLG needs to focus on delivery and not raise, and then dash, people’s expectations.”
Meg Hillier, chairwoman of the Public Accounts Committee, said:
setting aside over £2bn to build 60,000 new starter homes, none were built.
2010 many housing programmes announced with much fanfare have fallen away with
money then recycled into the next announcement.
MHCLG needs to focus on delivery and not raise, and then dash, people’s
ministry spokeswoman said house building was at its highest level for all but
one of the last 30 years.
have a great track record… with 222,000 homes delivered last year, and 1.3
million in total since 2010, including over 430,000 affordable homes.”
O’Leary, policy director at Home Builders Federation, said that even though
starter homes had not got off the ground, the scheme had not been a total
the engagement it had generated between local government, builders, mortgage
lenders and valuers was positive.
“The difficulty in creating a workable set of rules demonstrates the importance of ensuring that proper consideration is given to the practical implementation of interventions and their market impacts as early as possible.”
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