Scheme to Help People onto Property Ladder to be in Spotlight at Cabinet
A proposed policy around the introduction of the First Homes scheme will be considered by South Tyneside Council's Cabinet next week.
The government initiative offers eligible first-time buyers properties discounted by at least 30 per cent of the market value. A First Home can be sold for a maximum of £250,000.
Cabinet will be recommended to approve an interim policy around the scheme, which is now a mandatory affordable housing requirement.
First Homes will be delivered through two routes within the planning system: through section 106 developer contributions; and through Local Plan policies on their provision in residential development sites.
A major housing development in Hebburn is already part of a pilot project with Homes England to deliver 17 First Homes for local residents.
Cllr Jim Foreman, Lead Member for Housing and Community Safety, said: "Getting on the property ladder is becoming increasingly difficult for young people.
"While the introduction of this scheme will mean a reduction in the provision of units for affordable and social rent, we want local people who aspire to buy their own home here in the borough, to be able to do so.
"This initiative will make home ownership more accessible, broaden the housing market and encourage economic growth.
"It is a mandatory scheme with the criteria set by central government. Local authorities can however apply their own local connection and other criteria, such as giving priority to key workers.
"By adopting an interim position, we will be able to monitor how the scheme works in practice and amend it if necessary."
First Homes should account for at least 25 per cent of all affordable housing units secured through section 106 developer contributions.
This discount remains with the property so that future eligible buyers can benefit from the scheme if the house is sold on.
Supporting families by delivering new affordable homes for rent or sale is one of the council's key priorities.
Cllr Foreman added: Our local plan seeks to build communities that last a lifetime, and after this interim period, we can ensure this policy will help our children and grandchildren take that first step onto the property ladder."