27th Jul 2023|News|Sales|Lettings|New Homes|

A Guide To The Affordable Homes Programme

Since the conclusion of the Help to Buy scheme, many first-time buyers have felt concerned about their ability to get onto the property ladder. However, there are still plenty of options available to searching buyers in the form of shared ownership, Rent to Buy and LISA’s. 

Despite these options, there still remains the pertinent issue that there are not many affordable homes on the market. This is something that the Affordable Homes Programme seeks to mitigate by providing additional funding and support to developers across England. Here’s what you need to know about the Affordable Homes Programme…

What Is The Affordable Homes Programme?

The government has outlined its plans for the Affordable Homes Programme 2021-26 which seeks to provide grant funding to support the capital costs of developing affordable housing across England. The programme has designated £4 billion for London properties, and £7.6 billion for other new homes across England. The government are particularly interested in funding developments that have a quick turnaround to help them meet their targets.

Chief Executive of Homes England, Peter Denton, explained:

This change is something the sector has been calling for, and with it there is a real opportunity to accelerate the regeneration of social housing and help level up communities across the country. We encourage all affordable housing providers and local authorities to come and talk to us as early as possible if they need support to develop their proposals.”

The programme aims to assist in the delivery of 180,000 homes across England, with a focus on…

  • Discounted rental homes, especially in areas where rent is becoming increasingly unaffordable
  • Affordable home ownership schemes such as shared ownership
  • Homes in rural areas
  • Supported housing
  • Replacing outdated homes and structures with modern, efficient ones

Changes To Shared Ownership

Any homes designated for shared ownership that have been funded by the Affordable Homes Programme will benefit from new rules by reducing the initial share of purchase from 25% to 10%, thereby enhancing accessibility. If you wish to buy a share of a home, extra shares can also be purchased in 1% increments. Also, landlords will be responsible for maintenance and repairs for 10 years, thereby reducing costs for owner/tenants in the long run whilst encouraging developers to produce high-quality housing that does not need extensive maintenance.

Who Qualified For The Affordable Homes Scheme?

Looking to buy your first home? There are far more options at your disposal than just the shared ownership scheme! You could be eligible for assistance via the variety of other government schemes available. Here are the incentives you may not know about…


Lifetime ISA’s are designed to encourage people to save money in the run-up to their first home purchase. Savers can set aside up to £4,000 that is eligible for a 25% ‘top up’ by the government. This means that you could get up to £1,000 added to your deposit each year.

Right To Buy

Those living in council properties may be able to purchase their home for a discount. This long-running scheme has been running for over 30 years and has helped council tenants purchase 2 million homes.

Rent To Buy

On eligible properties, you can rent at up to 20% below market value for up to five years. During these years, tenants have the opportunity to purchase shared ownership shares or purchase the unit outright. This subsidised rent structure helps tenants when it comes to transitioning between renting and buying.

First Homes Scheme

First time buyers can purchase eligible units at a 30% discount, providing the purchaser’s household income is below £80,000, or £90,000 in London. This is a scheme designed to get people onto the housing ladder in their local area. Therefore, local authorities will set different eligibility criteria.

The State Of The Current Market

So why have the government chosen to place their focus on affordable housing? If you’ve been searching for a first home to purchase, or a new property to rent recently, it will come as no surprise that the property market is both competitive and expensive. This has deterred tenants from getting onto the housing ladder. It has also left many stuck living with friends and family or in properties that do not meet their needs. 

While affordable housing levels are not expected to return to pre-pandemic numbers until 2026, great progress is being made thanks to home buying schemes such as the Affordable Housing Programme. On average, 50,000 affordable new homes are being built every year, and over 60,000 units started development last year. With the government aiming to construct 300,000 new homes per year – but, in reality, constructing closer to 240,000 according to the Department of Levelling Up – this means that affordable homes constitute approximately one quarter of all new homes being produced in England.

Whether you’re a searching buyer or tenant hoping to secure your next affordable home, or a developer searching for guidance on obtaining funding as part of the Affordable Homes Programme – the team at Centrick are here to help. With an abundance of resources available to help you find your first home, we’re with you every step of the way on your property journey. We have a range of developments available that are eligible for buyer discounts such as Lockside Wharf, Florence Place and Digbeth One 2.We also work closely with developers to advise on how to produce the best builds for the best results with our unrivalled local knowledge. For more information on our services, contact us using the form below:

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