Latest government figures reveal Right to Buy figures fell by 43% last year to reach an eight-year low.
Local authorities in England sold 1,548 homes under the policy between July and September 2020, down from the 2,727 that were sold in the same quarter in 2019.
The government said the drop could be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic and concomitant lockdowns.
Home moves and sales were frozen for nearly two months last spring, but these latest figures show a continued slowdown of sales – despite the market reopening last July.
Between April and June last year, when the freeze came in, there were a total of 1,549 sales.
The government told councils that statutory timescales associated with Right to Buy sales should still apply during the pandemic.
Replacement starts on site and acquisitions for homes sold through Right to Buy halved compared with 2019, falling from 1,404 to 714 in the same period (April-June).
Between April and June 2020, local authorities in England received £137.2m under the policy, a decrease of around 40% from the £228m that was received during the same period in 2019.
The average receipt per dwelling sold in the quarter was £88,657, the second highest average receipt since records began in 2012/13.
The total value of Right to Buy receipts collected by councils for the first half of 2020/21 was £275.1m, compared with £436.7m during the same period in 2019/20.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government (MHCLG) said: “Receipts are sensitive to the type, size, and location of the properties sold, as well as their discount percentage, and therefore the average receipt per dwelling is likely to fluctuate.”
State of Right to Buy
Right to Buy allows council tenants to purchase their homes at a large discount, worth up to £84,200 in England and £112,300 in London.
Councils have long called for reform of the policy, which they say inhibits them from building new homes.
The discounts were raised significantly in 2012, with the government promising to replace additional homes sold off because of the change on a one-for-one basis.
The latest government release showed that replacements homes are around nearly 10,000 lower than where they should be – with 31,661 delivered since 2012/13.
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