Leeds in top 10 of council home-buying areas

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Huge surges in the number of council tenants grabbing the chance to buy their homes have been recorded in Leeds and Kirklees.

Both areas have made the top ten nationally in a league table compiled by the Department of Communities and Local Government to see how many residents are using the Right to Buy scheme.

Between April 2012 and April 2013, the figures show that Leeds had 186 sales, a jump from 118 the previous year and double the number sold in 2010/11.

Kirklees recorded 110 sales in 2012/13 – 205 per cent more than the previous year.

Responding to the figures, Housing Minister Mark Prisk said: “I’m delighted that so many tenants are choosing to seize the opportunity to get on the property ladder through the reinvigorated Right to Buy. As a government we are determined to ensure that whoever you are – whether a prospective first time buyer, an existing homeowner or a social tenant – if you work hard and want to get on, we will support you to move up the property ladder. 

“But I want to go further and ensure as many people as possible are able to take up this offer to buy their council home. That’s why we’re making changes so anyone who has lived in a council property for at least three years could be eligible for the scheme, and tenants living in London can now benefit from a discount up to £100,000.

“Any tenant interested in seeing whether they are able to take up the Right to Buy should contact their council or visit our website to see what steps they can take towards home ownership.”

Launched in April last year, the revamped Right to Buy offers eligible tenants discounts of up to £75,000 off the value of their home.

But the scheme has come in for stinging criticism in Leeds amid claims that the council is losing its stock faster than it is replacing it, reducing the amount of social housing available across the city.

Housing boss Coun Peter Gruen is calling for the scheme to be scrapped and alternatives to be explored.

Leeds Civic Hall golden owl. Picture: Ian Heszelgrave

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