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Claims discount scheme won't adequately help first-time buyers in Craven

Wednesday, 21 September 2022 17:16

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter

Most first-time buyers won’t be able to afford Craven’s climbing property prices despite a new government scheme offering up to 50% discounts, a report has warned.

First Homes is a national scheme and aims to support the sale of new homes to people in their local areas with discounts of at least 30%.

This can be increased to 40% or 50% if councils can “demonstrate a need” – and the scheme has been hailed by the government as a move to help people get on the property ladder.

But with average property prices in Craven rising to £283,878 this summer, there are fears home ownership will still be out of reach for many.

Craven District Council is set to adopt the scheme after examining its pros and cons with consultants which concluded a 50% discount is “unlikely to be affordable to eligible households generally”.

A report said: “This paper has explored the likely cost of First Home products based on alternative discounts and tested these against local incomes.

“A key conclusion is that this initial evidence indicates that First Homes at a 50% discount are unlikely to be affordable to eligible households generally, but may be affordable to some.

“Further work is required to confirm the affordability of First Homes through the plan-making process and the preparation of evidence including a housing needs assessment.”

The average Craven property price of £283,878 is according to the Land Registry which also said first-time buyers in the district spent an average of £244,000 this summer – £69,000 more than five years ago.

The First Homes scheme is for first-time buyers only and households with a combined annual income of more than £80,000 cannot apply.

There are also price caps which mean that after the discount has been applied, the buyer cannot be required to pay more than £250,000.

Those who can afford to buy without a mortgage are not eligible for the scheme, and there are further measures aimed at preventing people from buying the homes as an investment.

Once approved by the council, more details on the availability of homes and how to apply will be made available on its website.

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