Right to Buy extension confirmed in Queen's Speech

Posted 27 May 2015 by Stephen Maunder

As expected, the extension of the Right to Buy scheme was today announced in the first Conservative-only Queen's Speech for nearly two decades.

The controversial bill will give 1.3 million housing association tenants the opportunity to buy their homes, and will require councils to sell off high-value properties and invest proceeds in to building affordable ones. 

Right to Buy, which was reinvigorated in 2012, already allows 800,000 tenants the right to acquire their homes, and will now be available with significantly increased discounts on offer - a maximum of £77,900 across the country and £103,900 in the capital. Critics claim that the plans will worsen rather than relieve the UK's housing shortage.

The government has also reaffirmed that help will also be offered to first-time buyers, with 200,000 starter homes to be made available to under-40s at a 20% discount. 

Industry reactions

Matt Hutchinson, director of flat and house share site SpareRoom.co.uk
"Government plans to encourage ownership and give housing association tenants the opportunity to own their homes means we're likely to see an extension of Right To Buy.With a desperate shortage in affordable housing what we need is a clear plan to build more and also make better use of existing stock, rather than selling it off at a discount."

Stephen Johnson, managing director of commerical mortgages at Shawbrook Bank
"We see the move to extend the Right to Buy scheme as part of a wider decline in the supply of social housing available to tenants. By encouraging tenants of Housing Associations to buy their homes, the government is increasing the reliance of remaining social tenants on availability within the private rented sector. Demand for this sector is therefore the catalyst for the growth of the housing market moving forward." 

Miles Gibson, head of UK research at CBRE
“The proposals laid out in today’s Queen’s Speech represent a mixed bag for the property industry. The stronger leadership likely to be provided with the introduction of ‘metro mayors’ is good news for cities, as it will empower decision making that affects local economies in a more meaningful way than ever before.

"However, confirmation of the EU referendum is likely to have a more negative impact. It will no doubt shake the confidence of business leaders, and the property industry is no different. In a recent CBRE poll of leading property experts, four in ten said their biggest current political concern would be an in/out vote."

What do you think? Join the debate on Twitter @What_House

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