The long awaited Housing White Paper is finally here!

The purpose of the white paper is to help achieve the target of 1 million new homes by 2020 so how does the Government set out to do this?

We’ve sifted through all the detail to summarise the key things you need to know.

Builders and developers

  • Starter homes – to be made available only to those on a household incomes of £80,000 or less (£90,000 or less in London).
  • Affordable housing will now include affordable rent and rent to buy
  • More builders/developers will be able to apply for funding from the £1.4bn Affordable Homes Programme as eligibility is relaxed to include affordable rent developments.
  • Small builders will be supported to implement off-site construction and infrastructure as part of £3bn funding initiative.

Local authorities

  • New method for working out the housing demand in an area will be considered.
  • Requirements for a ‘realistic’ housing plan to be produced for each local area and reviewed every 5 years.
  • New Homes Bonus scheme will now be applicable to empty homes that are brought back into use as well as new houses that are developed.
  • Councils will be able to enforce up to 50% of council tax premium on homes left empty or unfurnished for over 2 years.

Land and planning

  • Plans for councils to issue completion notices more easily to ensure developments are finished on time.
  • Requirements for construction to be started on land in first 2 years of planning not 3 as it was previously.
  • Greenbelt land to be considered for building but only in special circumstances.
  • Housing will be the main focus for development on suitable brownfield land.
  • In areas where there is high demand for housing an increase in density levels will be required and more emphasis on high-rise in urban areas.
  • Planning rules will be amended to enable councils to plan more long term build to rent developments.

Buyers

  • Introduction of Lifetime ISA for first time buyers which will provide a 25% bonus in addition to the amount they save.

Renters

  • New measures to be put in place to address high rental fees.
  • Protection to be given to renters on long term tenancies.
  • More homes to be made available for rent through the Affordable Homes Programme.
For more information please take a look at the full version of the Housing White Paper.

By Anna Symington