Council homes sold at triple rate of building

Council homes are being sold off almost three times faster than local authorities can replace them, with councils unable to keep up with the loss of housing under right-to-buy.

Analysis of figures from 72 councils, who responded to freedom of information requests from the Liberal Democrat party, showed that more than 12,000 council houses have been sold off since 2014, to a cost of over £930 million, while only 4,309 were built over the same time period.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) pledged it would ensure ‘every home sold is replaced’ when it extended the right-to-buy in 2011, but the latest figures show that this has not been the case.

London boroughs have sold proportionally far more homes than were built, with Kensington and Chelsea selling 46 since 2014, at a cost of more than £14.3 million, but have built none, while Tower Hamlets has sold seven times as many council homes as were built over the three years, raising just under £104 million. Outside of London, Aberdeen City council has built just 24 homes since 2014 but sold almost 20 times that number and South Tyneside has sold 417 council houses but built none.

The DCLG said councils were meeting their targets, though the commitment was never to replace every right to buy sale, only additional sales under the expanded scheme from 2012.

A spokesman said: “Every additional home sold under the reinvigorated right to buy scheme must be replaced by an additional home. Local authorities should deliver these additional affordable homes within three years, and so far they have achieved this.”