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The housing minister just suggested the government's 200,000 starter homes pledge might include rental properties

Emma Haslett
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The private rented sector could be included in the pledge, said Barwell (Source: Getty)

The remit of the government's promise to deliver 200,000 so-called starter homes by 2020 could be expanded so it includes purpose-built rental homes in the figure, the housing minister suggested today.

During a question and answer session at the Resi 2016 conference in Wales, Gavin Barwell said there was "a little bit of tension between the overall supply objective and measures specifically to help people onto the housing ladder", industry trade bible Property Week reported today.

Barwell added the government may allow tenure types such as discounted rent to be counted among the 200,000 figure.

"What I've got to look at is can we have a wide range of products in terms of affordable housing and not just say that the only thing that qualifies is this one [tenure type]," he said.

A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government added the government's starter home commitment is "still there".

Starter homes initiative

The Conservatives made their pledge to deliver 200,000 affordable homes to first-time buyers as part of their manifesto before the General Election.

The homes will be built by private builders and sold at 80 per cent of market value, or no more than £250,000 (£450,000 in London).

But the pledge has been heavily criticised since, with even housebuilders hinting that without a major injection of land, skills and finance, and a rise in skills available, hitting that target may be impossible.

In fact, in one survey by property consultants McBains Cooper, fewer than a third of housebuilders said the target was achievable, while 19 per cent said they weren't sure.

Meanwhile, a survey by housing charity Shelter found the programme was unlikely to help most first-time buyers.

In the majority of areas, families will need two working adults, no children and higher wages than 90 per cent of the population in order to afford the homes, it said.

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