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Housing: Lancashire

Volume 479: debated on Monday 1 September 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps her Department has taken to assist first-time buyers with property purchase; and which of these are available to those seeking to buy property in West Lancashire constituency. (221743)

The Government's Low Cost Home Ownership programme helps to make home ownership more affordable to first time buyers, and enables purchasers get a foot on the property ladder through its HomeBuy products: New Build HomeBuy, Open Market HomeBuy and Social HomeBuy.

New Build HomeBuy enables people to buy a minimum 25 per cent. share of a newly built property, paying a rent on the remainder. This includes the First Time Buyers Initiative.

Open Market HomeBuy enables people to buy a property on the open market with the help of an equity loan of up to 50 per cent.

Social HomeBuy enables tenants of participating local authorities and housing associations to buy a minimum 25 per cent. in their current home at a discount and pay rent on the remainder.

We have helped over 65,000 people into home ownership over the last three years, and as set out in the Housing Green Paper, we aim to help 75,000 more householders on to the property ladder over the next three years. The Government have recently announced a package of new initiatives to help more first time buyers, nationally, into affordable home ownership.

From 1 April two new equity loan products have been available through the Government's Open Market HomeBuy scheme. The loans provide first time buyers with more flexibility in the percentage of the value of their home that can be borrowed—to a maximum of 50 per cent., and more choice in the mortgage they can take out.

A new cash grant of £1,500 is available to the first 2000 purchasers who take-up the new equity loans to help with the costs of purchasing their first home. From 14 May we:

expanded the Open Market HomeBuy scheme to help 2,500 first time buyers to purchase a new build home in 2008-09;

introduced flexibility for purchasing unsold stock from housebuilders for social rent or low cost home ownership;

expanded the flexibility criteria so that all first time buyers with a household income under £60,000 will be eligible for our HomeBuy scheme.

Finally, last week we announced a new ‘Rent to HomeBuy’ scheme to support first time buyers into affordable home ownership by renting first and buying later.

Our Low Cost Home Ownership products, including the recent package of new initiatives, are available to first time buyers in West Lancashire.