Friday, 29 May 2015

Council tenants struggle to buy their homes, survey reveals

Right to buy falls flat

Only 4 per cent of people who have expressed an interest in buying their home under the government’s revamped right to buy have managed to complete a sale.

Just 233 sales have completed at 25 councils in London, Birmingham, Leeds and Newcastle, compared with 5,697 expressions of interest from tenants, a survey by Inside Housing has found. This equates to a conversion rate of 4 per cent.

Prime minister David Cameron launched the ‘revitalised’ policy six months ago, trebling the discounts in some parts of the country, with the aim of achieving 100,000 sales.

Hammersmith & Fulham Council has recorded 268 expressions of interest since April, when the higher discounts came into effect.

Andrew Johnson, cabinet member for housing at the Conservative-led west London authority, said delays were caused by people waiting to get mortgages: ‘Property prices in Hammersmith & Fulham remain a stumbling block for many applicants.’

‘I’d like the government to go further and introduce a right to part buy, giving tenants the ability to part buy their council home,’ Mr Johnson added.

Birmingham Council received the greatest number of expressions of interest, at 696, but has sold just 65 properties since April. In the same period last year it sold 71 homes.

Croydon Council recorded 119 expressions of interest since April, versus just two sales. ‘As far as I’m concerned the mortgage market is dead in the water and that’s delaying the process,’ said Dudley Mead, cabinet member for housing at Croydon Council. He added that lower discounts in Croydon, because of the lower value of homes, made the deals unattractive to banks.

A spokesperson for the Local Government Association blamed the mortgage market for the disparity. ‘The LGA will continue to press the government for a review of the right to buy policy after one year,’ he said.

A spokesperson for the Communities and Local Government department said: ‘We would expect anyone thinking of buying their home under the scheme to have waited until the new discounts came into force in April and it takes a number of months for a sale to go through.’

Survey results

Figures are for the period from 1 April. The sales figures for Leeds are until the end of August, and the 2011 figures for Hounslow and Hammersmith are for the full year.

Readers' comments (20)

Comments are only open to subscribers of Inside Housing

Already a subscriber?

If you’re already a subscriber to Inside Housing, your subscription may not be linked to your online account. You can link your subscription from within the My Account section of the website and clicking on Link My Account.

Not yet a subscriber?

If you don't yet subscribe to Inside Housing, please visit our subscription page to view our various subscription packages.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

sign in register

Newsletter Sign-up



  • Construction output falls

    15 May 2015

    Construction output decreased slightly year-on-year, Office for National Statistics figures published today show.

  • Right to buy could be scrapped in Wales

    22 January 2015

    The right to buy policy could be scrapped in Wales under new government proposals.

  • Right to Buy


    Inside Housing examines why homes sold through right to buy are not being replaced as promised

  • 23,000 homes sold under revived right to buy

    20 November 2014

    Nearly 23,000 social homes have been sold for a total of £1.5bn under the right to buy since the coalition government increased the discounts in 2012.

  • Council to investigate shoebox Islington flat

    5 June 2014

    Planning and envrionmental health teams at Islington council are to investigate a ‘studio’ flat in Islington after it sparked online debate about the London rental market.

IH Subscription