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Right to Buy sales jump in the first quarter

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Nearly five times as many tenants bought their homes under the Right to Buy scheme in the first quarter of 2013-14 compared to the same time last year.

The government expanded the maximum discount to £75,000 across England in April 2012 and increased the London discount to £100,000 a year later. The sharp contrast between this quarter and last year may be due to tenants waiting for the discount changes, it suggested.

In total, 2,149 dwellings were sold under the scheme, compared to last year’s three-year low of 443 sales in the first quarter.

However, the take-up slowed, with 12.3% less sales than in the fourth quarter of 2012-13.

Housing minister Mark Prisk said many councils needed to do more to bring the scheme to eligible tenants’ attention: “Today’s figures only account for sales of council-owned properties.

“Thousands of housing association tenants can also take up their preserved Right to Buy, meaning even more people are able to become homeowners through the scheme.

“In the future this could also be expanded. Currently tenants need to have lived in their property for at least five years, but under planned new legislation this could be reduced to three years.”

The Mortgage Lady founder Janet Hall said: “We introduced a new specialist website for Right to Buy cases at the time of the announcement of increased discounts being available.

“We have moved from a position where we perhaps saw an enquiry a year to now handling two or three enquiries most days, with a good percentage of these becoming actual purchases.”

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