Government hopes to sell 23,500 council homes
With a property market already filled with properties failing to sell, the planned mass-selling of high-value council homes by the government could make it harder for private sellers – while also depriving low-income families of the chance of affordable housing.
In keeping with its promise to invest £4.5bn into their ‘right-to-buy’ scheme, the government has chosen to sell off many higher-valued council houses to fund the campaign, much to the dissatisfaction of UK property selling experts. The ‘right-to-buy‘ scheme gives housing association tenants the freedom to purchase their council homes and has so far been championed as a relative success. As funds have begun to run out, however, the Conservative government has chosen to sell newly emptied council-owned homes to allow the scheme to continue.
Many are arguing that this does not bode well for those looking to sell their house fast due to the huge increase of properties flooding the market, making it harder to stand out from the crowd on property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla. The charity Shelter has estimated that a total of 23,500 council homes will be sold in order to achieve the necessary funding.
Local councils are also up in arms as the government has forced them to raise an average of £26m on a local level to allow the scheme to continue. But many councils are facing much greater targets such as Birmingham, where a whopping £145m a year will need to be raised.
The situation also fails to provide for those who need help the most – families with low income for whom council housing is the only solution. By helping the few who are in a position to buy their housing association property, the move will reduce the number of properties readily available for those who would otherwise be homeless.
“With millions of families struggling to find a home they can afford, forcing councils to sell off huge swaths of the few genuinely affordable homes they have left is reckless,” said Campbell Robb, Shelter’s chief executive.
“The government is out of touch on this issue, and running out of time to help the millions of ordinary people crying out for a home they can actually afford.”
At a time where the property market is already waning with the forthcoming Brexit vote and a lack of potential UK homebuyers, many experts are questioning whether the sale of such government owned properties will even raise the funds necessary, with the Chartered Institute of Housing suggesting that the sales would only generate half of the £4.5bn needed.
For those looking to sell their homes, the increased number of homes on the market could lead to a lowering of asking prices, and a longer time spent looking for a buyer unless they were to market their home to a property buying company, who would be able to buy their property for cash regardless of any condition or location based issues, usually at very competitive prices.
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