Our initial thinking relating to the First Homes Initiative

We were really interested to see the announcement on the 7th of February regarding the Government’s First Homes initiative. The scheme will be aimed primarily at veterans or key workers such as nurses, police officers and firefighters from the local area. As one colleague put it, “we reckon the government may have stolen our idea”. We have been working with a client to investigate the possibilities to provide homes for key workers with discounts and the Government’s proposed 30% discount scheme will be of great interest.

The consultation will last for eight weeks and will close on Friday, the 3rd of April and we would encourage all interested parties to make their contribution. (Click here to view the consultation paper)

At a headline level the focus on veterans and key workers is to be welcomed. The focus on new homes is interesting but we wonder whether a scheme on the lines of the DIYSO program of years ago where people could choose which home they wished to buy, including existing property, might be of greater benefit particularly in areas where new homes are not being built.

Reaction from the sector reflects the concern that the new initiative could potentially reduce the number of affordable homes being provided through s106 agreements. In particular we are concerned that the wider benefits of a shared ownership programme may be lost.

Whilst we recognise the potential upsides for key workers, we share many of our colleagues concerns regarding the potential downsides. However, the devil is in the detail and we will look at the detail and see what we make of it before responding more fully.