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Birmingham tops sales league as 2,000 tenants buy their council houses

Birmingham tops sales league as 2,000 tenants buy their council houses

🕔26.Sep 2016

More tenants are buying their council houses in Birmingham than anywhere else in the country, according to new figures released by the Government.

Almost 2,000 dwellings were sold under right to buy legislation between 2012 and 2016.

But a promise by Ministers to maintain the stock of local authority properties by requiring councils to pursue a one-for-one replacement policy is falling short, leaving Birmingham with a dwindling supply of social housing.

Three years ago, there were 64,315 council houses in Birmingham. Today the figure is a little under 63,000, and continuing to fall as tenants take advantages of generous discounts to buy their homes.

Since 2012, 971 council houses have been built – most by the council-run Birmingham Municipal Housing Trust. But about the same number have been demolished because they are unsafe, out of date, or too costly to repair.

City council leader John Clancy has made the construction of new homes – social and private housing – a key priority and has hit out at developers for sitting on land banks and failing to build even though they have planning permission.

The council says Birmingham needs to build 80,000 homes over the next 15 years to meet the demands of a rapidly growing population.

Earlier this month Cllr Clancy signed an agreement with Chinese property developers Country Garden to deliver significant new housing stock in Birmingham and the surrounding area, as well as regeneration opportunities linked to the arrival of HS2. The deal is said to be worth £2 billion to the local economy.

Cllr Clancy said:

Bringing this level of investment and experience to Birmingham would be a massive economic boost to the region’s businesses, skills base and families. It’s about bringing new, big capital spend to the city, quickly. This is about building houses, jobs and futures for young Brummies and families across the region.

However, the council leader can do little to prevent the loss of social housing in Birmingham as more and more tenants take advantage of higher Government discounts to buy their properties at knock-down prices.

Figures released by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) put Birmingham at the top of the council house sales league during 2012-2016, with 1,974 properties sold.

Right to buy sales receipts have been increasing year on year since 2012-13, according to DCLG.

Across the country sales of council homes have risen by 21 per cent over the past year with an average sale price per property of £84,000.

Under the scheme local authorities have three years from the date of sale to provide a replacement affordable dwelling.

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