Right to buy scheme proves popular in Westcountry
Rocketing numbers of Westcountry residents are seizing the chance to buy the council home they have been renting, new figures have revealed.
In just one year, the number of people who have turned their rent into a mortgage by taking advantage of changes in Right to Buy legislation has increased by nearly four times.
Andrew George, MP for St Ives, said he had concerns about sold council or housing association stock not being replaced quickly enough.
“I don’t object to the sale of these properties and I wish good luck to the people who have bought them,” he said.
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“My issue has always been that they should be replaced and there was never any plan to do this.
“Provided that the proceeds from the sale make a contribution to replacement then that’s fine, but it doesn’t happen.”
Mr George said affordable homes had been built in Cornwall, but this was not done as an upshot of council house sales and demand still massively outstripped supply.
According to the figures released by the Department for Communities and Local Government, the amount of council house or housing association sales in 2011/12 across the Westcountry totalled just 33.
However, the following year this had leapt to a total of 127 with some areas racking up a seven fold plus increase.
In Cornwall in 2011/12 there were a mere trio of council house sales, but by the following year this had shot up to 22.
More than 27,000 households are on the Cornwall Council waiting list and are able to bid for homes as they become available.
Meanwhile in Devon, more than 35,000 households are registered with Devon Homes Choice, which co-ordinates the allocation of council and housing association homes across the whole of the county.
According to the Government, across England over 10,000 people had taken their first step on the property ladder thanks to Right to Buy.
In April 2012, discounts available under the scheme were increased to a maximum of £75,000.
Changes to the eligibility criteria also swung into effect with residents able to buy their homes after three instead of five years.
To date, Right to Buy sales have generated £173 million in additional income.