Starter Homes - Q&A

The questions and answers below have been written by the Home Builders Federation following correspondence received via the website


Am I eligible to purchase a Starter Home?

Only first-time buyers under the age of 40 are eligible to purchase a Starter Home.

Do I have to be registered on the website in order to buy a Starter Home?

Starter Homes will be marketed in the usual ways when they become available. By registering an interest in the scheme through the website you are ensuring that you receive updates on the initiative and will be alerted when homes become available in your area. You can also choose to receive information on other new homes built locally and different forms of support for first-time buyers, including the government-backed Help to Buy scheme.

When will Starter Homes be available to buy?

Homes that are designated as Starter Homes will be made available as they are planned for and built. This will be done in the same way as other forms of housing are developed. The planning policy through which Starter Homes can be developed is now in place for potential developments to come forward

People who have signed up for more information through the website will receive updates as the initiative develops and also receive information on Starter Homes being built in the area they selected on the website.

There is no definitive timescale for when Starter Homes will become available as it will depend on land being identified as meeting the criteria and taken through the planning process and into development. Until planning permission is granted and construction has begun it is not possible to estimate when properties will be available to buy.

How is a ‘Starter Home’ defined for this initiative?

Starter Homes will be built on designated Starter Home developments. According to the criteria established by Government, for approval as Starter Homes, the development will need to be:

  • On previously under-used commercial or industrial land
  • On sites that are not currently assigned for housing development

The Government will also be introducing design requirements for Starter Homes.   Its new Design Advisory Panel, involving  leading industry experts, is developing an initial set of exemplar designs to showcase what good quality starter homes could look like.  These are expected to be published soon for wider comment.

Where will these homes be?

Future Starter Homes developments would be in England only, on sites where the current or most recent use was commercial or industrial and on land that had not currently been allocated for house building. Developments will come forward in the usual way through identification by developers and local authorities of the necessary opportunities presented by suitable sites that meet the criteria for the Starter Homes exception site policy.

It is not possible to say in advance when and where Starter Homes developments will be built because it depends on availability of suitable land that is eligible for the scheme and a house builder’s ability to build and sell the homes according to the rules of the initiative.

How can I find a Starter Home?

By registering your details at you can sign up for more information on the scheme and be contacted with details of Starter Homes in your area.

How much will Starter Homes cost?

Starter Homes will be sold at 80% of the market value of the home.

New homes are part of the wider housing market. The value of them will thus be set by independent valuers within that local market. Purchasers will need to secure a mortgage – minus the deposit required by the mortgage lender -for the 80% sale value of the home.

The discounted price should be no more than £250,000 outside London and £450,000 in London.

How long do I have to live in the Starter Home?

Starter Homes cannot be resold or let at their open market value for a period of five years after the initial sale.

How is the 20% discount funded?

House builders usually make significant payments to local authorities as part of the ‘planning obligations’ that are required to obtain planning permission on new developments. This is typically used to provide affordable housing and also to fund local infrastructure such as roads and public transport, education and health facilities and open spaces. The Starter Homes exception site policy means that sites for new housing meeting the criteria listed above can be exempted from contributions for affordable housing and some wider infrastructure improvements not directly related to the development in return for offering buyers a discount of at least 20% on the market value.

I’m in the process of buying a home with a Help to Buy mortgage. Should I postpone my purchase to take advantage of Starter Home?

That’s a decision for individuals to make based on their own circumstances. There isn’t an estimated date for Starter Homes to become available and where, when and how many Starter Homes that are built will be determined by the availability of suitable and eligible land that can be developed by house builders for sale at 20% discount taking into account the reduced planning obligations.

I’m a first-time buyer and have found a new build home to buy. Can I get a 20% discount?

Homes that were granted planning permission before March 2015 will not have been officially designated as Starter Homes because the necessary ‘exception site policy’ came into effect in March.

There is no estimated date for the first Starter Homes developments to become available but the majority of new build homes can be bought using Help to Buy. You can search for new homes in your area at the website. More information on the 20% equity loans which are available through the Help to Buy scheme can be found here

Why don’t over-40s qualify for the initiative? What can I do if I am older than 40?

The initiative has been introduced by Government to assist young first time buyers to buy a home. They have set 40 as the cut off age for Starter Homes.

The Starter Home scheme is a government initiative. While the HBF has agreed to run a website through which prospective buyers can register an interest so that as and when homes do become available they receive information we have had no direct role in designing the scheme. The Government response to the consultation on Starter Homes which ran until 9th February confirmed that it planned to go ahead with an age limit on the scheme.

Help to Buy Equity Loans are available when purchasing any new build home up to the value of £600,000 from a participating house builder. It’s a government-backed scheme that provides buyers with an equity loan of up to 20% of the value of the home. The loan is interest-free for five years and there are age restrictions and previous and current homeowners are also eligible. You can search for new homes available in your area at

Is there an end date for the initiative?

The Starter Home initiative involved a change to national planning policy so while there is no formal end date for the initiative it could be reversed or altered by this government or a future one.

What is the Home Builders Federation’s role in the Starter Homes initative?

Starter Homes is a government initiative. While the HBF has agreed to run a website through which prospective buyers can register an interest so that as and when homes do become available they receive information the HBF has had no direct role in designing the initiative.

Any questions not answered above should be directed to the Department for Communities and Local Government via the Government website

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