Right to Buy figures plunge, official data from MHCLG shows

Official figures from MHCLG show that Right to Buy sales between July – September 2018-19 decreased by 22 per cent compared to those sold over the same period in 2017-18.

The Right to Buy scheme allows eligible social housing tenants to buy their house at a reduced price and has been in place since 1980. The report, which compares sales covering the period 2006-07 to 2018-19, relates only to sales by local authorities under the scheme, excluding sales by private registered providers under preserved Right to Buy. It details the number of sales of dwellings under the Right to Buy scheme, as well as providing statistics on receipts resulting from those sales and starts on site as part of the one-for-one additions policy.

2,417 Right to Buy sales were made in quarter two in 2018-19, a drop of 698 from the same period the year before (3,115). Quarters one and two of 2018-19 combined total 4,889 compared to 6,161 for 2017-18, a 20 per cent decrease.

Over the entire year in 2006-07, there were 17,684 Right to Buy Sales, which compares to 12,858 in 2017-18. The financial crisis meant that figures the following year (2007-08) dropped to just 12,043, before plummeting considerably to just 2,869 in 2008-09. Figures reached a post-financial crisis peak of 13,427 in 2016-17.

In Q2 2018-19, local authorities received approximately £205.3 million from Right to Buy sales, 17 per cent lower than the £247.3 million in the same quarter of 2017-18 (see Table 2). The average receipt per dwelling sold in Q2 2018-19 was £84,900. This compares to £85,800 in the same quarter of 2017-18. By way of comparison Land Registry data shows that the average price of a property in England for September 2018 was £248,396.

Under the Right to Buy one-for-one additions policy, local authorities have three years from the date of the sale of each additional home to provide an additional affordable property. If a local authority does not provide an additional affordable property, a proportion of the receipt is transferred to Homes England (HE) or the Greater London authority (GLA), who use these recycled Right to Buy receipts to deliver starts and acquisitions.

There were 1,160 dwellings started on site or acquired (as part of Right to Buy replacement policy) in Q2 2018-19, 28 per cent higher than the number of dwellings started or acquired in the same quarter of 2017-18. The number of starts on site and acquisitions delivered by local authorities in England in the year ending September 2018 was 5,167, an increase of 12 per cent, from 4,631 in the previous year. This reflects the general upwards trend in yearly delivery since the introduction of the one-for-one additions policy.

By way of comparison, data from the House of Commons Library shows that there were a total of 38,730 housing building starts in England for quarter two in 2018, which in itself was a decrease of four per cent compared to the same period the year before.

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