Homebuyers 'need efficient assistance'

Posted: 17 Jul 2006 10:44:39 GMT

            Property News - Homebuyers 'need efficient assistance'

A new report from the National Audit Office (NAO) suggests that there needs to be more efficiency and focus when dishing out assistance to struggling first-time buyers.

While 46 per cent of households could afford to buy back in the late 1980s, this has since fallen to 36 per cent as house prices have continued to increase strongly.

And while low cost home ownership (LCHO) assistance has now helped 40,000 people to buy their own properties, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) will need to be much more efficient in it distribution of aid if it is to meet its targets, according to the NAO.

In 2004 and 2005, 11,000 households received assistance from government-funded programmes, but a further 49,000 households were in need of a helping hand during the period.

Sir John Bourn, head of the NAO, said today: "Low cost home ownership assistance has helped thousands to take their first step onto the housing ladder. But, to ensure that as many other households as possible get the chance to do the same, the assistance needs to be more tightly managed and better focussed on those it would benefit most.

"The DCLG, the Housing Corporation and Registered Social Landlords must work together to ensure that the assistance is being effectively managed and monitored. This will be particularly important in securing value for money as the schemes expand to try to help an extra 100,000 households."

The new report speculates that the DCLG could make annual savings of up to £112 million if it continues to make improvements to management and targeting.

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