- The Queen's Speech on 27 May is likely to include a Housing
Bill which will include proposals to extend the Right to Buy to all
housing association tenants.
- Councils will be required to sell "higher value" homes as they
fall vacant in order to fund the payment of discounts to HA tenants
as well as the provision of new homes to replace those sold both by
HAs and councils, together with a £1 billion Brownfield
- "Higher value" homes are defined as those falling into the most
expensive third of properties - including privately owned
properties - in their area. The Government will consult on
whether "area" for these purposes should mean the English region or
"smaller housing market areas".
- As proposed the "higher value" thresholds above which
properties would have to be sold range from £80,000 for a 1 bedroom
property in the North East to £790,000 for a 4 bedroom property in
London - but these may change.
The Conservative manifesto pledge is to give all housing
association tenants a statutory Right to Buy on the same terms as
enjoyed by council tenants. Some details about how the policy would
work are included in a Conservative
press briefing issued alongside the manifesto. Discounts for HA
tenants, together with replacement homes and a Brownfield
Regeneration Fund work £1 billion over 5 years would be funded by
requiring councils to sell existing council housing valued among
the most expensive third of properties of that type in their area
as they become vacant. The briefing states that vacant homes sold
would be replaced "in the same area" with 'normal affordable
housing". It includes a table which shows for each English region
the 'higher value" threshold above which homes would be required to
be sold as they become vacant. This suggests that the relevant
definition of "area", both for the calculation of the threshold and
the commitment to replace, is the region; however the briefing
states that the Government will consult on whether thresholds will
be set by region or by "smaller housing market areas"
Sales of higher value council homes is expected to raise £4.5
billion a year, based on the assumption of 15,000 sales a year at
an average price of £300,000. It is expected that the net receipt
after repayment of debt will be sufficient to fund the payment of
discounts to HA tenants and replacement of sold HA and council
dwellings, while still leaving £1 billion to fund a Brownfield
Regeneration Fund. It seems likely that replacement costs have been
calculated assuming that receipts will contribute 30% and the
balance will be funded by setting "affordable' rents on the
Many of the details of these proposals remain unclear, and may
not have yet been decided.
Some of the assumptions underlying the figures provided may not
be sustainable. They assume an annual turnover rate of 7.3% on what
is likely to be among councils' most popular stock, which seems
unrealistically high, as does the assumption that sales will
average £300,000 a dwelling.
The choice of area for calculating the higher value thresholds
has significant implications for the distribution of sales among
councils. Regional thresholds would hit some councils hard while
leaving others unaffected, while smaller areas would tend to spread
the incidence of sales more widely.