Couples just starting out might often consider giving up the hopes of any kind of rural life in the UK. Starter homes – the kind with small square footage and low investment needs – are hard to come by. Some families are lucky enough to own some property that they can pass on, but mostly, there is little encouragement to first-time homebuyers to move to the country and build homes.
Quite often, local and countrywide ordinances prohibit the construction of any new homes in rural areas. This can be a real problem for farming and ranching families that want to keep the kids close to the home property.
Not only does construction of new homes need a boost, but infrastructure does, as well. School, transportation, and roads need planning and construction, yet there is no support for this kind of construction.
Some politicians are wanting to change this in the UK. With reformation of planning laws, some villages in England will be allowed to build starters. This will help to bring in young people who are just getting started in their lives and careers. George Osborne, Chancellor, is trying to reform these laws, providing more affordable living for first time home buyers.
Under Osborne’s plan, first time home buyers will receive a 20% discount on properties priced under £250,000 outside of London. Inside London, the discount is applicable up to £450,000.
One of the problems with the current plan is that when the government does approve a starter home in the current plan, it is as a replacement for other affordable housing. Osborne wants the rural homes to be build in addition to the affordable projects.
Osborne says that rural purchases or rentals are cost prohibitive. This drives young people to the cities, creating a burden for the cities and a handicap for smaller villages.
The government is called upon to enforce and strengthen requirements placed on developers, requiring them to build affordable homes.
Environment Secretary Truss also calls for better infrastructure for rural areas, adding internet, mobile phone service and better local government to the suggestions from Osborne. She wants, also, to review current restrictions to barn construction and renovation, which keep family owned businesses from expanding.
Of course, one of the biggest fears with this kind of loosening up of restrictions is that the bucolic English countryside may become over developed. They are afraid, too, that villages will be overrun and their quaintness ruined.
Another drawback is that it is feared that local families would be quickly outbid on such housing. The discounts will go to commuters who are looking for less expensive housing and who will ultimately return to the city. The same discounts will not apply upon resale of the properties.
Finally, the discount of 20% is still not enough for some of the poorer rural areas. This increases the likelihood of abuse of such programs, leaving local young people without the help they were expecting.