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Government announces new funding for housebuilders

If house prices in your area are out of your reach and there simply aren’t enough properties available, help may be on its way.

At the Conservative Party Conference this week, the Government pledged £5bn to increase housebuilding and speed up the delivery of new homes.

A new £2bn ‘accelerated construction’ fund has been created, guaranteeing to buy up homes that developers are unable to sell. The aim is to reduce the risk for developers and to speed up the delivery of new homes by using modern building techniques.

The Government is also setting up a £3bn Home Building Fund, using previously announced cash. £1bn of loans will be made available to smaller housebuilders to build 25,000 new homes before 2020. Another £2bn will go to long term funding for infrastructure, unlocking a pipeline of 200,000 new homes in the long term, with the emphasis on developing brownfield sites.

The UK needs 250,000 new homes every year to keep up with demand but this figure has never been met since it was first quantified; in 2015 only 156,000 homes were built. So any attempts to increase the housing supply are very welcome.

However, the messages from the Government aren’t all so positive for home buyers. Earlier in the week, the Chancellor Philip Hammond said the Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme would close at the end of the year. The scheme has meant that home buyers with only a 5% deposit could still get their foot on the housing ladder. 86,000 people have benefited so far. There was also outrage when it came to light that savers on the Help to Buy ISA would only get the Government’s 25% bonus once their home purchase had completed. So anyone hoping to use the money for their deposit has been left high and dry.

Let’s hope that the new initiatives do what they’re intended to do – bring home ownership within the reach of many more people desperate for a place of their own.

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