First Homes

The government has introduced a new affordable home ownership product to the market – First Homes. These are new properties which are sold for a discount of at least 30% below market value to first time buyers.

Under First Homes, after the discount has been applied, the initial sale of the home must be priced no higher than £250,000 (£420,000 in Greater London).

The discount remains with the property forever. A restriction is registered with HM Land Registry to ensure it is passed on every time the property is sold.

To find out more about the detail of the proposals, you can read our member briefing.

Our response to First Homes

We support the goal of increasing home ownership and believe that First Homes could make an important contribution to this aim. However, we still have concerns about some areas of the government’s policy: 

  • Affordability and local housing need. In many areas across the country First Homes are unlikely to be affordable to most buyers even with the discount. In most local authority areas, even a 50% discount would not bring median-priced new homes within reach of median income households.
  • Impact on affordable housing supply. First Homes must be provided as the first 25% of affordable housing on any site. We are concerned the need for developers to provide First Homes potentially will impact on the viability of the delivery of other affordable tenures.
  • Impact on overall housing supply. High number of First Homes in place of other affordable tenures will slow down overall absorption rates and increase cashflow uncertainty, which could further dampen housebuilding.

You can find more detail about our concerns in our consultation response.

Following conversations with the government, we successfully argued to protect exception sites from the requirement to deliver First Homes. This means that sites of 100% affordable housing can choose to exclude First Homes from what is provided. This will be of particular benefit to smaller and rural housing associations.

The impact of First Homes on housing associations and the provision of other affordable housing tenures is still unknown. We are working with our members to understand the issues. We’re also working with government to ensure they understand any impacts the product has on other affordable home ownership products, and social housing development more generally.

Who to speak to

Marie Chadwick, Policy Leader