Bids for “First Homes” scheme invited by Government

Bidding has opened for home builders across England to deliver 1,500 first time buyer and key worker homes under the First Homes scheme launched in June.

Over the next few months house builders will be given the opportunity to bid for their share of a £150 million package by offering plots for sale as First Homes across the country.

The scheme offers homes at a discount of at least 30 and up to 50 per cent of the market price. The discount will then be passed on when the property is sold to future first-time buyers.

Each individual local authority can set a local connection test to determine who should be prioritised for the scheme based on the needs’ of their communities. Councils will also be able to prioritise the homes for key workers such as nurses and teachers who have been looking to get on the housing ladder while supporting their community throughout the pandemic.

Successful bidders will gain finance to engage local people and mortgage lenders, understand the level of customer demand and learn about the process before going through planning.

Two First Homes sites are already up and running in Bolsover, East Midlands, developed by Keepmoat Homes, and Cannock, West Midlands, developed by Vistry Partnerships and Leeds Building Society recently received the first mortgage application for a First Homes property as more homes come onto the market.

Housing Secretary RT Hon Robert Jenrick MP said:

It is great to see the First Homes scheme gaining momentum and I am happy to invite house builders to deliver this flagship house building programme across the country.

Lenders have already seen the first mortgage applications come in as more homes come onto the market. It will support local communities and give local people a greater chance of getting on the housing ladder and having a place which they can call their own.

Just as importantly, homebuilders of all shapes and sizes will now be able to benefit from this scheme while helping first-time buyers and key workers onto the property ladder.

Peter Freeman, Chair of Homes England said:

The Early Delivery Programme is a great opportunity for housebuilders, housing associations and the wider development sector to get to grips with First Homes. We look forward to working with partners to help aspiring homeowners realise their ambitions and own their own home.

The National Federation of Builders, NFB, said it broadly supported the initiative as it would give a greater opportunity to deliver different types of housing. However, NFB housing and planning head Rico Wojtulewicz said the scheme was better suited to larger sites rather than smaller brownfield ones.

But, he also expressed concern that local authorities could ask for unrealistic discounts well above the minimum 30 per cent which would be unviable for complex sites.

Earlier attempts to offer discounted starter homes for first-time buyers under the age of 40 during David Cameron’s government failed with not a single new home built.

Today's Conveyancer