Figures released today by the Department for Communities and Local Government show that 2,890 homes were sold by councils through the right to buy scheme in England in January to March 2017, while 1,378 were started or acquired to replace them using the receipts.
In the year to March, 12,826 homes were sold, while 4,475 were started or acquired to replace them.
Since right to buy discounts were increased in April 2012, 54,581 homes have been sold, while only 12,472 have been started or acquired to replace them.
Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) chief executive Terrie Alafat CBE said, “We understand that the government is trying to help people achieve their aspiration of home ownership – but if affordable homes for rent are being sold, it’s absolutely crucial that they are replaced. We are deeply concerned about the loss of social rented homes at a time when more and more people are in need of genuinely affordable housing.
“Today’s figures are further confirmation that the number of replacement homes being built is nowhere near the number being sold. Our research has shown that most councils only expect to be able to replace half or fewer of the homes they sell under right to buy. It’s always been clear that there would be a time lag between homes being sold and homes being built to replace them, but it’s now been more than five years since right to buy discounts were increased and there is mounting evidence that replacements are simply not keeping pace with the level of sales.”
CIH has called for the government to modify the right to buy scheme to help councils build more homes to replace those sold, such as allowing them to keep all of the receipts rather than handing a proportion over to the Treasury.