Right to buy take-up doubles in a year

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THE number of tenants taking up the right to buy their council home in Wigan has more than doubled in the past year.

Latest figures show that 80 homes were sold between April 2012 and April 2013 in Wigan, compared to 37 in the previous year – the highest percentage increase in the North West outside of Manchester. Across England, the number of homes sold last year totalled 5,942 – more than double the number sold in the previous year and the highest number of sales since 2007.

Launched in April last year, the reinvigorated Right to Buy scheme offers eligible tenants discounts of up to £75,000 off the value of their home, and up to £100,000 in London.

A total of 2,449 properties were sold between January and March this year, more than four times the 566 sold during the same period in 2012.

Housing Minister Mark Prisk said that with discounts increased to a maximum £100,000 in London, and moves to make even more tenants eligible for the Right to Buy, these sales figures could increase even further over the coming year.

The Minister also pointed to a range of measures the Government is taking to increase awareness among tenants about the reinvigorated Right to Buy offer, including workshops and roadshows in local areas.

Today’s figures only account for sales of council-owned properties: on top of this, thousands of housing association tenants can also take up their preserved Right to Buy – meaning even more people will be able to become homeowners through the scheme.

Mr Prisk said the Government was determined to help people who work hard and want to get on, and today’s figures demonstrated the real appetite among tenants to “seize the opportunity” to become homeowners.