Planning Practice Guidance now has a new section all about First Homes. This is a specific kind of discounted market sale housing that falls within the definition of an affordable home and as the name suggests, is for first-time buyers.
First Homes must be discounted by a minimum of 30% against the market value and sales capped at £250,000 (or £420,000 in Greater London), which will be restricted in perpetuity. According to the guidance, this is the ‘government’s preferred discounted market tenure and should account for at least 25% of all affordable housing units delivered by developers through planning obligations’. Aside from some transitional arrangements for schemes that have been subject to ‘significant pre-application engagement’, the requirement will kick in from 28th December 2021.
Speaking about the publication, Steve Tapscott, Associate Director at Chapman Lily Planning, commented that ‘it is great the government is diversifying affordable housing tenures to specifically cater for struggling first-time buyers and the onus on local authorities to make sure 25% of affordable housing schemes are First Homes adds confidence they should be delivered on the ground. However, for local authorities relatively advanced in their plan making, it could cause headaches because they will need to update their viability evidence and weave the requirement into their emerging plans. It could also cause some developers headaches, if it looks as though their applications will be determined after 28th December, as it may require viability assessments and third-party viability checks to be relooked at’.
If you would like to know more about First Homes, please contact Chapman Lily Planning.