The government has not supplied the 200,000+ starter homes they promised to build. The program was meant to start in 2014.
After housing prices rose dramatically in the UK that year, the government-paid housing was meant to introduce first-time buyers under 40 to the market, with each property being sold at a 20% discount. This plan would provide people with an affordable option but still be independent—as opposed to being trapped renting or living in their parents’ homes.
More than £2bn was set aside for the first 60,000 houses, with £174m of it spent on acquiring and preparing the land for these homes. Land was purchased in places such as Plymouth, Bury, Basildon, Stockport, Bridgewater, Cinderford and Bristol.
Although the first wave of homes built on these sites are now complete, they are not being marketed as “starter homes”. Houses built on the government-bought property are being marketed as ordinary residences to the open market.
According to a report by the National Audit Office, the actual legislation that defined these properties as discounted was never actually passed into law. Now, the Ministry of Housing “no longer has a budget dedicated to the delivery of Starter Homes.”
While the government has not delivered on their promise, some people have embraced nontraditional living situations that free them from both rent and mortgage payments alike.
The BBC interviewed several people about their alternative housing situations, and where they could see themselves living in the future.
The Baggley couple lives comfortably in their van, which repurposes the vehicle and increases their mobility.
“We originally started off living as a couple in rented accommodation,” said Harriet Baggley. “We decided that mortgages weren’t for us. We thought alternatively about ways we can decidedly live.”
Another couple made a home out of a shipping container while looking for an affordable mortgage, and now do not want to leave due to comfort and convenience.
Others are attracted to either purchasing or building their own tiny home, which can also be extremely mobile and doesn’t require a mortgage. Tiny homes also use significantly less energy than a standard-sized home, making them both an inexpensive and sustainable living option.
Image by Paul Silvan or Unsplash.com