English Partnerships is offering to buy a share of homes being built by private developers in order to speed up the provision of homes for first-time buyers.

Under the First Time Buyers Initiative, which aims to make available 15,000 affordable homes, EP is proposing to take a half equity share in homes already in development.

Under EP’s existing shared ownership housing programmes, such as the London Wide Initiative, the quango has just provided subsidised sites.

Kirk Howell, who is running the initiative for EP, said he was aiming to procure about 40% of its homes from existing schemes. The agency has set aside £100m for this purpose.

Howell said EP would only consider schemes that have secured planning permission and could be built by 2009 at the latest. “This allows us to deliver homes quicker to first time buyers,” he said, adding that homes procured directly from developers would not have to comply with EP’s development standards.

The remainder of the programme will be delivered on schemes being developed on EP’s own land, including the hospital sites portfolio, and by working with other public sector organisations to identify surplus sites.

Developers have until 15 September to submit bids.