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Building affordable housing to support aspiration

Building affordable housing to support aspiration
4 min read

With the Government’s new Help to Buy ISAs becoming available today, the Housing Minister sets out the measures being taken to supply enough new UK housing to match homeownership aspirations.

Five years ago our country was on the brink of bankruptcy. An urgent rescue job was required. We took the difficult decisions, and stood firm against the critics.

Today our economy is growing faster than its competitors, and we will exceed a £10 billion surplus in public finances by the end of this Parliament.

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Britain is a country on the rise. The doors of opportunity are open, but too often people feel ill-equipped to walk through them, because they are struggling to find a place in our housing market.

86% of people in our country want a chance to buy their own home – an aspiration that has remained consistent since the housing revolution of the 1980s – and yet the aspiration and reality of home ownership has drifted apart. 15 years ago 60% of people under 35 owned their own home; by next year it’s set to be just half of that.

The decline of homeownership is not just an economic problem; it’s also a social failure. We risk creating a generation of exiles: young people worse off than their parents, compelled to leave the communities they love and grew up in, or forced to decline good job opportunities, because local housing is too expensive. 

During the last parliament we were determined to grip this problem. We helped 200,000 households buy their home, doubled house-building starts and the number of first time buyers, and concluded our term as the first Government since the 1980s to finish with a larger stock of affordable homes.

Now we must go further. If our task during the last Parliament was to rescue the housing market; now we must renew it. If our goal was to give people hope; now we must equip them to fulfil their dreams.

Last week the Chancellor set out a comprehensive plan to build this country’s future, including the biggest house building programme by any government since the 1970s.

Our action to cut the deficit and our strong economic growth means we are now in the position to double the investment in housing to more than £20 billion over the next five years. A funding boost that will help deliver more than 400,000 affordable new homes by the end of the decade.

Almost half of them will be Starter Homes, sold with 20% discount to young first time buyers, alongside an additional 100,000 homes for affordable rent. Our brand new Help to Buy: Shared Ownership will deliver a further 135,000 homes, by removing many of the restrictions that have held back shared ownership – rules about who can buy them, who can build them and how they can be sold on.

Aspiring home buyers in the capital have faced particularly high costs, and they will now benefit from a new London Help to Buy, where a 5% deposit will secure an interest-free loan worth up to 40% of the value of a newly-built home.

And the new Help to Buy ISA, launched today, will boost first-time buyers’ savings by up to 25%, helping them save for a deposit.

In our manifesto we also committed to extend the Right to Buy to over a million housing association tenants. Thanks to our historic agreement with housing associations that process can start immediately.

Tenants of five housing associations are able to start the process of buying their own home, in London, Liverpool, Norfolk, Oxfordshire and Surrey right now.

All of these plans are designed to back aspiration while contributing to a significant acceleration in the supply of new homes. There is no contradiction between supporting the dreams of home buyers and ensuring new homes are built.

At the same time we’ll release enough public land for 160,000 homes, re-designate unused commercial land for Starter Homes, extend loans for small builders, regenerate run-down estates and invest over £300 million in Ebbsfleet: the first garden city in nearly a century.

This is the biggest Government investment in house building for 40 years, but we are under no illusion about the scale of the challenge ahead. The problems in our housing market have been many years in the making, and will require a long term plan to solve.

That is what this Government is determined to deliver: a better housing market that secures our economic recovery, boosts productivity and rebalances the economy.

Our plans go far beyond numbers, schemes and timelines. They are about working people. To support their aspirations and give them the confidence that their hard work can be rewarded with homeownership, and a place to raise their families.

One Nation – so whoever you are, and wherever you live, you can walk through the doors of opportunity, and into a home of your own.

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Read the most recent article written by Brandon Lewis MP - Jump in people taking steps to get into home ownership

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