Starter Homes

MQT on 2015-10-21
Session date: 
October 21, 2015
Question By: 
Steve O'Connell
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
Steve O'Connell


How will you be taking forward the Government's recent announcement to enable the delivery of Starter Homes in London?

Supplementary Questions: 


Answer for Starter Homes

Answer for Starter Homes

Answered By: 
Steve O'Connell

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Thanks very much, Steve.  The Starter Homes initiative that the Government has proposed is potentially very exciting.  There is a lot of detail to be worked out.  We want to see loads more homes of all tenures in London, particularly part-buy/part-rent proposals.  Let us see how we can make this really work for London.  It is potentially very exciting, but there will be arguments and discussions to be had about how to continue to deliver loads of new homes for people in this city.

Steve O’Connell AM:  Thank you, Mr Mayor.  Again, around this horseshoe, we would all agree that we need more homes for Londoners of all tenures and an increase in affordable home.  This project is particularly aimed, I believe, at the first-time buyer market and is aimed at those under 40 years to purchase a home with a minimum 20% discount.

What I am interested in is the London context because, for young people or young couples to get on the housing ladder, it is very difficult throughout the country but particularly in London.  I am interested, really, in your thoughts around how you will be instructing your planning colleagues in your work around the London Plan and how they will particularly grasp the opportunities that this initiative will give us in this building to support young Londoners getting on the property ladder.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  You are right.  The key thing is to recognise the extreme difficulty of getting a mortgage and getting a deposit with the cost of homes in London.  That is why I stressed at the outset the importance of the part-buy/part-rent schemes that we are doing.  With a deposit of £5,000 or up to £13,000 on a joint income of £37,000, it starts to be doable for loads of families in this city.  That is the model that we should be really expanding and allowing them to staircase upwards.

If the price of some of the Starter Homes is capped at £450,000, it is already a pretty pricy home for many people in this city.  You would need an income of maybe £195,000 or whatever to be within a sniff of getting that.  That is very high.

There are plenty of models that we need to work on and I want to stress the importance for London of part-buy/part-rent schemes.

Steve O’Connell AM:  Thank you.  I agree completely.  Sometimes if you scan the Evening Standard or other papers around the prices of the new apartments - and I know Tom [Tom Copley AM] is particularly strong on this - some of the prices are just jaw-dropping and are completely of the range of many young couples.  Any scheme - and this is one - that can help a young couple to get on the property ladder and purchase a property for around £100,000 or whatever is to be welcomed.  Thank you for your support and please ‑‑

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  £100,000 is very cheap.

Steve O’Connell AM:  Yes, but this is the point is making, Mr Mayor.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  I would have to say, Steve, that if you have to find a flat for £100,000, you are really pushing it in London.  I do not know where you are going to find that.

Steve O’Connell AM:  I am saying, Mr Mayor, that that is an aspiration.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  That would require a catastrophic fall in property values across this city.

Steve O’Connell AM:  Mr Mayor, not necessarily.  I am focusing very much on outer London and often there are areas that will lend themselves to more realistic pricing.  We must be practical, Mr Mayor.  Thank you very much, Chair.