Government waives development taxes to cut prices for new homes

Barratt, Bellway and Taylor Wimpey are among the housebuilders that have pledged support for a new government first time homebuyer initiative launched by Prime Minister David Cameron today. The Starter Homes initiative plans to give housebuilders exemption from having to pay for affordable housing and other community benefits for a site under Section 106 and Community Infrastructure Levy ‘taxes’, as long as homes built there are sold at a minimum 20% discount to first time buyers. The government also has pledges of support from smaller builders and local authorities including Trafford Council, the London Borough of Bexley and Cheshire West and Chester Council.

It has opened a consultation on the proposed initiative.

The initiative is intended to encourage housebuilders to develop under-used or unviable brownfield sites, and provide 100,000 homes for first time buyers under the age of 40. Would-be homebuyers are expected to be able to register their interest in buying via the initiative early next year. Homes within the initiative cannot be re-sold at market value until a fixed period has elapsed.

Alongside the initiative, the government is establishing a design panel to monitor design quality of new homes, following the review of architecture and the built environment carried out by architect and founding partner of Farrells, Sir Terry Farrell for the government. The panel includes Farrell, architect Sir Quinlan Terry, philosopher Roger Scruton and representatives from the Design Council, Create Streets, RIBA and RTPI.

Farrell said: “This panel has the potential to make a real difference. It builds on the recommendations of the Farrell Review, which highlighted the need for more proactive planning and better placemaking as we attempt to address the housing crisis, with radically higher priority given to landscape, sustainability and the public realm.

“Only by planning and designing our villages, towns and cities together with local communities can we create the kind of built environment we all aspire to and should be demanding.”

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