Discount homes on offer to first-time buyers

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First-time buyers struggling to get on to the property ladder are to be given a 20 per cent discount on new homes in a Government initiative unveiled today.

Some of Yorkshire’s biggest developers will be involved with the Starter Home scheme, which is offering 100,000 people under the age of 40 one fifth off the cost off their first property.

In a move which is likely to win favour with voters and give a boost to the housing market and stimulate more consumer spending ahead of next May’s General Election, David Cameron has set out measures which would see developers made exempt from planning costs and levies on under-developed land provided they offer the discount.

“Hardworking young people want to plan for the future and enjoy the security of being able to own their own home and I want to help them do just that,” said Mr Cameron.

While local authorities in this region do not feature on the list of those already signed up, a Downing Street spokesman told The Yorkshire Post it would be on offer to councils in the county.

Persimmon Homes – which has offices in York and Leeds – and Beverly-based Humber Construction Brick Baron are among a number of leading house builders already examining sites which could be used.

Aspiring home owners will be asked to register their interest in buying by the start of next year.

Mr Cameron added: “First-time buyers will be offered the chance of a 20 per cent discount, unlocking home ownership for a generation.

“This is all part of our long-term economic plan to secure a better future for Britain, making sure we are backing those who work hard and get on in life.”

The announcement follows a warning that the housing market will lose momentum next year because of uncertainty over the upcoming election and its outcome, continuing economic problems in the Eurozone and a potential rise in interest rates hitting consumer confidence.

Industry experts say Yorkshire and the Humber could be hit particularly hard, with house prices rising at half the pace of estimates for national increases in 2015.

Mortgage affordability and lending regulations are also said to be holding the market back.

Builders can currently face an average bill of £15,000 per home in Section 106 affordable housing contributions and tariffs. Under Starter Home, certain charges will be dropped for developers on the stipulation that homes could then not be re-sold at market value for a fixed period to ensure the savings are passed onto buyers.

More than 30 house builders have said they support the plans and would consider bringing forward land from next year, but leaders of the Opposition have cast doubt over the Prime Minister’s pledge.

Shadow Housing Minister Emma Reynolds said: “No one will believe David Cameron’s promises. He said he would get Britain building but instead he has presided over the lowest levels of house building in peacetime since the 1920s.”