Around 96% of average earners in England will still be unable to afford a home under the government’s new First Homes scheme, the charity Shelter reports.

The First Homes scheme, which has been described by housing secretary Robert Jenrick as “genuinely life-changing for people all over the country”, aims to deliver affordable homes for first-time buyers across England.

Successful applicants will be given 30% off new build homes, which could provide a saving of £94,000. The government is prioritising access for military veterans and key workers including nurses, police officers and firefighters.

But Shelter claims that the scheme will actually reduce affordable housing for first-time buyers because the houses will be unaffordable for a vast number of low-income workers. 

The charity’s research found that, in most areas across England, someone on an average salary (around £28,000) or lower could not afford one of these homes, which would still require a significant deposit. New-build properties in England cost £314,000, on average. 

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, wrote in The Observer: “Our analysis shows that in 96% of the country someone on an average salary could not afford to buy one of these new-build homes, even with 30% lopped off the market price, and certainly not the key workers that the government talks about, unless they are at manager level.

“At a time when we desperately need properly affordable housing, policymakers are looking to give a lucky few a 30% discount on what are still going to be incredibly expensive homes. And let’s be clear about who the lucky few are. Not those facing a monthly struggle to afford their rent.”

Affordable Homes Needs to be a Priority

With UK house prices close to an all-time high, the government is under pressure to deliver affordable housing to struggling first-time buyers in the UK.

Following the Conservative Party’s General Election win in December, Boris Johnson pledged to continue striving to build 300,000 homes a year, but a recent consultation on the First Homes scheme did not contain any homebuilding targets.

A consultation into the scheme is currently ongoing and will close at 11:45pm on 3 April, 2020. More details will hopefully be disclosed in due course that assuage experts’ fears about the scheme’s impact on affordable housing.

For many struggling first-time buyers, self build offers an alternative way to create your dream home. Self build can also help aspiring homeowners save up to 30% on market value.

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