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Concerns at home plans

Published: 27 Mar 2012 14:352 comments

READING'S housing leader has raised concerns that the Government's effort to help council tenants onto the property ladder will put too much strain on the borough's already under-pressure stock.

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The Coalition will next month remove the £16,000 cap - the lowest in the country - on discounts for those buying their council homes in Reading and West Berkshire and the £38,000 limit in South Oxfordshire and Wokingham. Residents will instead get up to £75,000 off, depending on how long they have lived there and the value of the property.

But Reading Borough Council housing leader Rachel Eden is worried there is a flaw in the Government's plans to replace the sold-off homes with affordable rent properties on a "one-for-one" basis.

Cllr Eden said: "The idea of helping people get onto the property ladder is obviously a positive one, but my concern is that replacing the homes is going to be quite difficult. We have not got lots of suitable land."

The Coalition has also announced plans to make new-build homes available to buyers with 5% deposits, The NewBuy scheme involves high street lenders - RBC, Nationwide and Barclays - providing 95% mortgages for British citizens buying allocated properties for up to £500,000, as their main home in England.

Developments with NewBuy allocations include Bovis Homes' Mitford Fields in Three Mile Cross and David Wilson Homes' Portman Square, Reading.

Bovis Homes chief executive David Ritchie said: "Higher deposits have undoubtedly been a significant factor in slowing down the market, but this new 5% deposit requirement promises to give the market a major boost - especially as it is available to existing homeowners and first-time buyers alike."

Housing Minister Grant Shapps said: "This Government inherited a housing market in disarray, with millions of hard working people blocked from taking their first step on the housing ladder - their desire to buy a home no longer a dream, but a distant fantasy. We want to help everyone achieve their aspirations, and feel the pride of home ownership."

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