Government housing plans in Worthing are given cautious approval

GOVERNMENT plans to assist first-time home-buyers have been welcomed in Worthing, but estate agents have said more affordable housing needs to be built to make the proposals effective.

In last Wednesday’s budget, Chancellor George Osborne announced plans to allow home-buyers to pay as little as five per cent towards a deposit on a new-build home, with the Government providing 20 per cent as a no-interest loan.

But the plans only apply to new-build homes, leading to estate agents in Worthing saying the scheme will have a limited impact locally, due to the town’s property portfolio.

Matthew Cohen, senior property consultant at The Village Estate Agency, in Rowlands Road, Worthing, said: “I think it will help but it’s not going to have an impact straight away because there’s not a glut of afforbale, new-build houses in the area.

“I think it will be interesting when the second part of the scheme kicks in, in January, 2014, and people can use it to buy second-hand homes.

“In Worthing, there are luxury new-builds on the seafront but not so many affordable places for families and first-time buyers.”

Mr Cohen said it was too early to have seen a reaction to the budget but predicted a bigger spike in interest in January, and said it was good news for the construction industry. Max Harbron, office manager at Michael Jones, in Chapel Road, Worthing, said: “I think it’s a good policy, but the impact it will have locally for first and second-time buyers is limited. The type of housing the scheme involves is not being built in Worthing, which will make it harder for people to take advantage of it.

“It’s the same old problem for most people – rents are so high that people are struggling to pay them and find the money for a deposit on a mortgage.

“If the scheme was rolled out to other kinds of houses and flats, I think it would make a massive difference.”

Bryan Turner, deputy leader of the council and cabinet member for regeneration, said he expected 1,000 new-build homes to be built in West Durrington, and on Northbrook and Worthing colleges’ sites within the next three years.

He added: “I think we generally welcome it, because I’m in favour of getting people into their own homes. On the other side of the coin is the question of whether it will inflate house prices. The Government has to keep its eye on how the policy is working to see the house prices aren’t inflating.”