New scheme set to open the door to home ownership
First Homes is a new government scheme designed to support local first time buyers to buy a new property which is discounted by at least 30% of open market value, up to £250,000.
New residential developments providing affordable housing will be required to provide 25% of affordable housing as First Homes, with councils able to introduce a local connection test which prioritises first time buyers locally.
At a meeting on Tuesday (7 Dec), councillors on Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s Cabinet agreed an interim eligibility criteria for the scheme, which gives priority to local residents, until a new policy is introduced as part of the borough’s Local Plan Update.
As part of the local connection criteria, residents must meet the following:
• Have a local connection to the borough such as living in the borough for the last 12 months or three out of the previous five years, have been permanently employed in the borough for the last six months, have a close family link within the borough with a requirement to move to the area to provide care and/or support or be a key worker including those who provide an essential service to the borough.
• Be a first time buyer and have a mortgage to fund at least 50% of the discounted purchase price.
• Must have a household income of under £80,000 per year.
The local connection criteria will apply for the first three months of a First Home property being marketed. After three months, residents that meet the national requirements for the scheme will be able to purchase a First Home.
National requirements state that First Homes must be purchased by a first time buyer with a mortgage to fund at least 50% of the discounted purchase price and have a household income of under £80,000 per year.
The new First Homes scheme complements other low cost home ownership options in the borough such as loans through the council’s Own Home Loan scheme, affordable rent, rent to buy and shared ownership schemes, and the discount applied to the original sale of a First Home will also be given to any new buyer each time the property is sold.
Work is now under way to develop a new Low Cost Housing Register to enable residents to register their interest and preferences and be made aware of new low cost home ownership opportunities.
Cabinet Member for Communities, Planning and Infrastructure Cllr Simon Bound said: “Home ownership is a dream and an aspiration for many people across our borough who want to stay in the area where they grew up. The First Homes scheme is an exciting new tool as part of the wider package of low cost home ownership options to help turn their dreams into reality.
“We want to ensure that our residents have the best possible opportunities to be able to buy their own home in the borough. Our interim criteria for this scheme will prioritise people with a local connection to Basingstoke and Deane as well as key workers who provide vital services and ensure that new developments coming forward meet the needs of our residents through our Local Plan Update process.”
For more information about First Homes, visit www.ownyourhome.gov.uk