UK house prices: More than 3,000 people used right to buy last quarter - and 5,000 homes have started to be built as a result, government figures show

Catherine Neilan
Follow Catherine
Housing In The South West Of England
Properties are being sold under right to buy, and replacements are being built - but are they being completed? (Source: Getty)

Right to buy might still be dividing opinion, but there's one place where no one is in any doubt about its success.

The government has today issued another self-congratulatory update of the controversial scheme, claiming it has helped a further 50,000 people buy a home since it was "reinvigorated" in 2012, with more than 3,000 people using the scheme to buy a property between October and December.

Right to buy is most popular in Birmingham, Nottingham, Leeds, Sheffield, Newham, Tower Hamlets, Wolverhampton, Southwark, Kingston Upon Hull and Barking, the figures showed.

That has meant £259m going directly to councils "which will go towards building additional homes", the Communities and Local Government department said today.

As part of the pledge to build one home for every one sold, there have now been nearly 5,000 starts on additional homes, exceeding the target, it noted.

Sure, people - including Boris Johnson - might have warned that the scheme would be "extremely costly", or feel, like the National Housing Federation chief David Orr, that it is "the daftest idea I've heard". There are others who, like Harriet Harman, are concerned by the fact that the number of houses actually completed is somewhat out of kilter with the targets.

But apparently those concerns are not shared by the government or those at DCLG.

Housing minister Brandon Lewis said: "We are determined that anyone who aspires to own their own home should have the opportunity to do so.

"These figures show people are still very keen to take up their right to buy and why we are now extending that opportunity to housing association tenants.

"Britain is building again and homes are being delivered following the sale of properties. Alongside this a thousand tenants are registering each week to join those who have already realised their dream to own their home."