Right to Buy sales outstrip provision of new affordable homes

There were more sales of social rented homes last year in England and Wales, than there were new affordable homes built, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

For the first time since 2005/06, more sitting tenants bought their homes – most of them council tenants exercising their right to buy – in the 12 months up to last April, than there were new homes built by social housing providers. In total, there were just over 11,500 right to buy sales, against 10,900 new social rented homes completed.

In contrast, during the previous financial year (2012/13) there were only 6,114 right to buy sales to deplete council housing stocks nationally, against more than three times that number (19,740) of social rented homes being built.

A key factor behind the new peak in right to buy applications was the Government’s decision in 2013 to substantially increase the purchase discounts available to tenants buying their council flats and houses, in some cases giving a tenant more than £100,000 discount on the market value.