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Call to suspend right-to-buy as councils struggle to replace homes

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Less than a third of homes sold through the right-to-buy since 2012 have been replaced, analysis reveals.

Figures released on Wednesday by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government showed that 72,929 homes have been sold since right-to-buy discounts were increased in April 2012. However, just 20,746 replacements have been started or acquired in that time.

Chartered Institute of Housing chief executive Terrie Alafat said: “Not only are we failing to build enough homes for social rent, right-to-buy means we are losing them at a time when millions of people need genuinely affordable housing more than ever. Our research shows that we lost more than 150,000 social rented homes between 2012 and 2017 due to right to buy and other factors, and that figure will reach 230,000 by 2020 unless we take action now.”

Analysis by the CIH has shown the right-to-buy scheme is costing councils £300m a year.

Ms Alafat called on the government to suspend the scheme “to stem the loss of social rented homes”.

The number of homes sold through the right-to-buy continues to fall. The latest statistics show that 2018-19 is on course to have the lowest number of sales in a year since the right-to-buy was reinvigorated in 2013-14.

At the halfway stage there have been 4,889 sales in 2018-19. That is lower than the 5,027 sales recorded in the first half of 2013-14 – the second lowest total over a comparable time frame.

The amount councils received from right-to-buy sales in the first half of 2018-19 was £412.9m. This is, however, about £100m more than the amount councils received during the same period of 2013-14.

The average receipt per dwelling sold in the second quarter of 2018-19 was £84,900. This compares to £85,800 in the same quarter of 2017-18.

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