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Right to Buy sales up for the first time since 2016

Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

The number of homes sold under the Right to Buy scheme increased in the year ending March 2022, breaking the downward trend seen over the last five financial years.

A total of 10,878 eligible properties were sold under the Right to Buy scheme during 2021/22, with local authorities pocketing £1.06bn as a result.

Sales are up 58% from the 6,865 recorded in 2020/21 when there was a particularly sharp decline due to Covid restrictions.

This is the first time they have risen since 2016/17 when the number of sales stood at 13,442. As such, it means the latest number of eligible sales are still 19% below the most recent peak in 2016/17.

However, when looking at Right to Buy sales in the last decade (2011/12 to 2021/22), they have increased 313%, according to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

It also noted that the current average receipt per dwelling came to £97,796, an increase of 5% compared to 2020/21. The total receipts received in the tax year were the highest since 2016/17.

Sales in London had a higher maximum discount of £112,800 in 2021/22 compared to other English regions where it was £84,600.

Overall, since the introduction of Right to Buy in 1980, there have been over two million sales to tenants.

Right to Buy

The Right to Buy scheme was launched in the 1980 Thatcher era with the intention of helping low-income households get onto the property ladder, by allowing most council tenants to buy their council home at a discount from market rates.

But damning analysis of the 2022 UK Housing Review published in March this year suggested the policy led to an “erosion of the stock of social rented homes” as many had found their way into the unregulated private rented sector.

An estimated 40% of Right to Buy properties are owned by private landlords, but this figure is likely to rise, “undermining the ambition to boost home ownership”.

Last month the government confirmed it would extend Right to Buy to housing association tenants, giving around 2.5 million tenants the chance to buy their property. It would also change the rules to allow certain people to direct housing benefit towards a mortgage, allowing four million people access to the property ladder.