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Member Briefing: Starter Homes

Date: 02/03/15

Starter Homes

Government publishes details of Starter Home initiative

Following the consultation which ran until 9th February, the Government has today published the detail underpinning the Starter Homes policy which is aimed at building 100,000 new, discounted homes for young first-time buyers on under-used or unviable commercial or industrial sites not currently identified for housing supply.

Changes to national policy mean that this Coalition Government policy is effective from today. It is distinct from David Cameron’s announcement today that should they the Conservatives form the next government, the initiative would be extended to a wider range of sites by classifying Starter Homes as a form of Affordable Housing through which developers could agree with local authorities to discharge Affordable Housing obligations.

After receiving more than 250 responses to the consultation, the Government has confirmed the criteria for Starter Homes exception sites through the publication of today’s Written Ministerial Statement (WMS). This follows the Prime Minister’s announcement and launch of the website over the weekend.

The changes to policy published today involve:

  • Direction for local authorities to look for opportunities establish Starter Home exception sites on commercial and industrial land that is either under-used or unviable in its current or former use, and which has not currently been identified for housing
  • A presumption in favour of applications for Starter Homes unless there are overriding conflicts with the NPPF that cannot be mitigated
  • Planning obligations for permissions on Starter Homes sites will require that homes are offered for sale a minimum of 20% below open market price
  • Starter Homes should not be required to make S106 affordable housing or tariff style contributions
  • Exception sites may include a small proportion of market homes at the planning authority’s discretion where it is essential to secure the 20% discount for Starter Homes on the site

More on these changes will be available shortly. In addition, the Government will seek to amend CIL regulations in the next Parliament to exempt Starter Homes from the levy.

The Design Advisory Panel established by Government early this year is developing a set of ‘exemplar designs’ for Starter Homes which are expected to be published shortly. An initial set of recommended designs is available via the government website here. HBF is working with other members of the Design Advisory Panel to ensure that the design requirements for the Starter Homes scheme are practical and workable for house builders.

Revised planning guidance for local authorities in implementing the policy change will be published shortly. This is expected to include information on maximum sales price for Starter Homes.

Commenting on the introduction of the scheme, HBF Executive Chairman, Stewart Baseley said:

“The shortage of housing is now one of the most serious economic and social challenges the country faces. The house building industry supports policies that bring forward additional land to build more homes and help first-time buyers realise their dream of home ownership. As well as the obvious benefits of creating new high quality homes, house building also brings huge benefits to local economies and generates employment up and down the country.”

In response to a request from Government HBF has created a registration facility for first time buyers interested in receiving information about the scheme. As the page makes clear, we will communicate details of any future Government schemes – in addition to Starter Homes - to registrants. Since Friday interested has been high and over 30,000 people have signed up to receive information. 

HBF will provide further updates on the scheme as it becomes available.

House builders are not required to formally register to develop Starter Homes. However, if you would like your company name to appear on some future government communications relating to the scheme, please get in touch with David O’Leary ( with your company name and the areas you would be interested in developing Starter Homes in. We will pass these on to the Government.  

The Written Ministerial Statement to Parliament by Housing Minister, Brandon Lewis can be read here.

The HBF submission to consultation which ran from 15th December to 9th February is available here.

The Government response to the consultation will be available shortly here


Conservative Party election announcement:

Making a speech in Essex, the Prime Minister announced that a future Conservative government would aim to extend the Starter Homes scheme to build 200,000 homes at 80% of market value for young first-time buyers. This increase would be supported by allowing local authorities to designate Starter Homes Affordable Housing product in the discharging of planning obligations by developers, and for Starter Homes to therefore be potentially available on a full range of sites.

Elsewhere, in the speech, Mr Cameron articulated five housing commitments:

1) Keep mortgage rates low by tackling the deficit

2) Build more Starter Homes for first-time buyers under 40

3) Extend Help to Buy Equity Loan for new build homes until 2020

4) Expand the Right to Buy

5) Ensure local people have more control over planning and protect the Green Belt

Responding to today’s announcement, Stewart Baseley commented:

“Greater flexibility for local authorities and developers in the range of affordable housing that can be provided on housing developments should help to make more sites viable and increase the number of homes available for first-time buyers and others who are looking for a high quality home they can afford.”

If you have any questions, please contact David O’Leary –


David O’Leary

Deputy Director of External Affairs