Nearly 1,000 families, currently in rented and particularly overcrowded accommodation, will be able to take their first step towards owning their own home in London under plans unveiled today by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, and the London Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).

The First Steps for families initiative supports the Mayor’s aim to increase the proportion of family sized homes built for low cost home ownership. It will see up to 1000 new homes made available over the next three years to families aspiring to own their new property, with around 250 ready by next summer. There is strong support from both London boroughs and housing associations who have included their own sites in the programme in addition to sites put forward by the HCA.

Despite difficult economic times the Mayor is on track to deliver 50,000 affordable homes by 2012, and his aim is that 20,000 of these will be made available for low cost home ownership. So far, over 26,000 new affordable homes have been delivered and, in the last year alone, over 15,000 affordable homes were started, a 35 per cent increase on the year before the Mayor was elected. In line with the Mayor’s Housing Strategy, London’s affordable housing supply is now delivering homes that are better designed, with more and larger rooms for families, and giving Londoners more choice in where they live and more help for those that want to buy their home.

Boris says:

“Many Londoners dream of being homeowners but are thwarted by the colossal property prices in London. My overriding ambition is to make the capital a city of opportunity and choice and more affordable for ordinary Londoners.

“We are already making strides towards building better homes and offering more choice to families, particularly those currently stuck in overcrowded accommodation. Today we begin extending the opportunity to those Londoners, who have only ever rented their council or housing association property, to start building up a stake in their new home and fulfilling that dream.”

David Lunts, London director at the HCA says:

“We’re committed to increasing the availability and choice of larger homes for families in London. This innovative approach to delivering intermediate homes will help Londoners achieve their homeownership aspirations. By using the HCA’s Delivery Partner Panel to appoint development partners for these initial sites, we’ll be able to speed up the procurement process and start on site at the earliest opportunity.”

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