£280m FirstBuy extension as part of Govt’s new housing plans

The Government has announced a £280m extension of its shared equity scheme FirstBuy as part of a raft of new housing and planning measures.

Under the scheme, launched in March 2011 to help around 10,000 first-time buyers to get on the housing ladder, the Government and house builders offer first-time buyers a low-cost 20 per cent equity loan, to boost their deposit, with a 5 per cent deposit needed from the borrower. The scheme was backed by an initial £210m from the Homes and Communities Agency.

Today Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg have announced a £280m extension to the scheme, which aims to help an additional 16,500 first-time buyers get on the property ladder.

The Government is also planning to remove restrictions on house builders to help unlock 75,000 homes stalled due to sites being commercially unviable. Developers who can prove that council’s costly affordable housing requirements make the project unviable will see them removed.

New legislation under the Infrastructure (Financial Assistance) Bill will guarantee up to £40bn worth of major infrastructure projects and up to £10bn of new homes. It will include guaranteeing the debt of housing associations and private sector developers.

Up to 15,000 affordable homes will be built and around 5,000 empty homes will be brought back into use in a £300m initiative.

As part of the plans, an additional 5,000 homes will be built for rent at market rates in line with proposals outlined in Sir Adrian Montague’s report to the Government on boosting the private rented sector.

For the next year, the Government will slash planning red tape, including rules which prevent families from making improvements to their properties.

Cameron says: “The measures announced today show this Government is serious about rolling its sleeves up and doing it all it can to kick-start the economy. Some of the proposals are controversial; others have been a long time in coming.

“But along with our housing strategy, they provide a comprehensive plan to unleash one of the biggest homebuilding programmes this country has seen in a generation. That means more investment around the county; more jobs for our people; and more young families able to realise their dreams and get on the housing ladder.”