Landowners are being given further incentives to release land to speed construction of starter homes in rural areas.
Gloucester based land and property specialists Bruton Knowles have welcomed the Government’s decision to extend the Starter Home Initiative from brownfield land in urban locations to include rural exception sites.
Bruton Knowles planning expert Paul Barton said: “Rural exception sites are generally small sites that would not normally be granted planning permission for residential development.
“Rural exception sites have previously been limited to affordable housing provision only - and have produced little or relatively low land values which had not really encouraged commercially minded rural landowners to pursue planning permission.
“This change could yield significantly higher land values on these sites.”
Paul Barton said landlords with rural sites adjacent to suitable settlements or with unviable or underused industrial/commercial land should be looking at the new policy if they wished to release some value from their land in the short term.
“Starter Homes need to be well designed and suitable for first time buyers under 40 at no more than 80 per cent of their open market value. These homes cannot be sold or let at their full value for five years - but homeowners are then free to sell or let at full market value.”
Paul Barton went on: “In order to fund this discount, suitable sites will not be expected to provide Affordable Housing or contribute towards wider infrastructure requirements which other developments have to bear. They will however, still need to fund any site specific obligations to mitigate the scheme’s impact.
“Up until recently, only under used or unviable industrial and commercial land could benefit from this policy. Since the recent announcement however, this policy has now been extended to include rural exception sites.”
“The original rural exception site policy sought to address the needs of the local community by accommodating households who are either current residents or have an existing family or employment connection to the area.
“Therefore, sites that would have been considered suitable as rural exception sites for affordable housing only can now also be put forward for starter homes specifically for “young” people who already live in the area, or have an existing family or employment connection to the area.”
Starter Home proposals should be approved unless the local planning authority can demonstrate that there are overriding conflicts with the National Planning Policy Framework that cannot be mitigated
They must have a value of no more than £250,000 outside London and £450,000 in London.
Paul Barton said: “It will be interesting to see how and when the 100 per cent of market value figures are assessed to ensure that the Starter Homes are made available at 80 per cent.
In rising or falling markets the 80 per cent figure could change over the life of the permission.
“Whilst the initiative to increase the supply of starter homes can be supported, it might prove an attractive investment opportunity for the well-heeled 39 year old local first time buyer!”
Bruton Knowles are currently promoting a number of sites suitable for the Starter Home Initiative on behalf of rural clients and any landowners wishing to see whether they can take advantage of the opportunities that this policy could bring.